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Helping a water company evaluate energy efficient process changes at their water plant


“We’re a bunch of water people; we don’t have a whole lot of electrical engineering expertise. MCR was proactive talking to us about what we are doing and provided guidance on how some of our projects could become energy efficiency projects.”

—Senior Operations Manager, PA American Water


Background

Pennsylvania Act 129 required Duquesne Light Company (DLC) and other electric distribution companies in Pennsylvania, to develop and implement cost effective energy savings programs that would reduce electricity consumption across their service territory. As part of this effort, DLC’s senior manager of energy efficiency was interested in helping their water utility customer, Pennsylvania American Water, develop energy saving projects. The customer had identified an opportunity to change its water system chlorination process from using 0.85% hypochlorite generated onsite to 12.5% hypochlorite purchased commercially and eliminate three separate 12-kW electrolysis cells. In addition, the customer also considered reducing site-generated chlorine to lower operations and maintenance costs and to improve reliability, since the chlorine product could be purchased from various vendors. To support their customer, DLC offered to conduct a detailed assessment of the process changes to determine if significant energy savings was feasible. Knowing it needed specialized electric and water engineering expertise to conduct the assessment, DLC asked MCR for assistance in analysis.

Solution

MCR provided an analysis of the site electric cost impacts as well as the net electrical impacts of site-generated chlorine versus industrially produced chlorine sources. The impact of the different process alternatives was assessed and reviewed with both DLC and the customer to measure post-retrofit cost and energy savings.

Results

MCR helped DLC’s customer recognize the energy efficiency and cost benefits of this project. The customer heavily relied on MCR’s electrical engineering expertise and its documentation of internal processes. The customer successfully applied for permits from the State Department of Environmental Protection and made the process changes. DLC’s customer projected and verified savings of 1.16 million KWH annually at the site and qualified for a $50,430 efficiency incentive to help fund the cost of the changes.