In the current business situation investment in energy management is at the centre of planned business decisions, particularly for the energy-intensive companies where competitive benefit is often swayed by energy costs. Beyond industry-level initiatives, energy efficiency is also crucial for tackling increasing emission levels which is a corollary to industrial growth. The selection of energy efficiency strategies that work best for an undertaking is highly specific to a company or production unit. Many industrial plants have introduced advanced energy efficient technologies.
Taken as a whole, the way to enhance energy efficiency is to detect and examine the possible areas with measured data and evaluate in order to assess the energy cost savings and the investment requirement. Energy cost can be lowered through a model whereby the company lays down a target per unit cost of energy and works back to achieve the same by reducing the controllable costs. The energy management strategy is basically made up of two simple building blocks – get energy cheaper and once obtained, prevent its loss. Energy management represents a structured attempt by the companies to address the issue of preventing losses by driving energy efficiency. Fundamentally energy management system comprises three distinct layers:
- Use of a data acquisition system which collects mechanical and electrical data that drive energy efficiency;
- Analysis of these data from a perspective of benchmarking, asset management and environmental impact;
- Preparation of an actionable report which would provide the end-users with,
a. Operational issues, their fixes, cost to implement, operational benefits and savings estimate;
b. Cost-benefit analysis of implementation of necessary capital improvement project;
c. Measurement and verification report to quantify the benefits of implementing operational fixes and capital improvements;
Early adoption of such system has shown to produce results which suggest that pay back period of such initiatives is in weeks and in months. Overall, such energy management systems provide the companies with the opportunity to continually improve energy productivity and hence reduce environmental impact.
There are energy service companies who deliver such energy-efficient solutions based on individual cost benefit analysis and guaranteed savings. Broadly, the models of services provided by these companies are, fee-based consulting, bonus or penalty-based consulting or guaranteed savings with the project financed by the host. The demand for energy is growing manifold and energy sources are becoming scarce and costlier. Among the different strategies to be developed for energy management, efficient use of energy and its conservation appears as the best choice considering that it is environmentally benign and cost-effective.