An energy efficient menu for power and water industries

Stay profitable with performing assets.

Most CEOs consider the topic of energy efficiency to be strategically important to their businesses, yet more than half also acknowledge they are still grappling with how to implement enterprise-wide energy saving measures.

The good news is it`s never too late to make industrial systems more energy efficient, including those found in power and water plants, provided you have a plan.

ABB has a program that can detect the energy efficiency potential in power and water systems, saving resources, meeting regulatory requirements, increasing revenues and enhancing overall image.

The main focus is to identify improvements with a viable pay back quickly, and it`s not vastly difficult. There are potential savings in every plant – from 5 to 20 percent of current energy consumption, providing as much as 8 percent improvement in overall plant efficiency. You just need to know where to look.

Take pumps and fans, which use the most electrical energy in a power or water plant. Using variable speed drives to control the speed of centrifugal pumps, for example, instead of throttling or damping the motor to control speed, can cut energy bills as much as 50 percent. Payback is very fast.

Technology can help you increase power generation efficiency and reduce costs by using less fuel (also creating fewer emissions as an added bonus) to reach your required output. Or it can help you achieve maximum electrical output using a limited amount of fuel. There are solutions to improve a plant`s grid output by up to 10 percent, without actually increasing fuel consumption.

Then there`s the problem of fluctuating renewable power generation, such as wind and solar, which must be integrated into grids designed for steady power flow. More renewables in our energy mix means power plants will have to become much more flexible and responsive in terms of start-ups and load changes. It is all is possible, with today`s technology.

It`s wise to take an informed view when considering energy efficiency challenges in our power and water systems, because needs change from region to region. Developing countries are looking for ways to meet rising demand and still comply with stricter environmental standards, while developed nations grapple with topics like integrating renewable energy into an existing and conventional generation fleets.

ABB has a holistic energy efficiency approach for the power and water industries, with detailed audits and customized solutions for the entire plant. State-of-the-art control systems and electrical balance of plant (EBoP) solutions complement this approach. Control systems and retrofits help to further reduce maintenance costs, and remote services that integrate condition monitoring play a vital role in cementing efficiency gains.

There is plenty of scope for energy efficiency improvements with a range of existing technologies and even more on the way. Perhaps the most important message to take away is this – most investments in energy efficiency pay their own way. We are seated at the table, with the menu before us; we just need to start ordering.


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About the author

Thorsten Mathaeus

I am the global business development manager for service within ABB's Power Generation business. It`s my task to coach our local product groups and extend the full portfolio of ABB service solutions to our power and water customers. Electrical service and energy efficiency are some of the strategic initiatives within our product group.
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