E.M. Planning for Small Water Systems and the NYSERDA Model (1)

While a large percentage of water utility operational costs may be fixed costs, energy costs represent the largest controllable cost of providing water services to the public. Indeed, in 2010, water usage by the residential, commercial, industrial and power sectors for direct water and steam services used 12.6% of the nation’s total annual energy consumption, equivalent to the total energy consumption of approximately 40 million Americans. A significant portion of this amount (2-3% of the national total) was used by drinking water and wastewater systems. A good energy management plan for a water utility can help to improve energy efficiency, manage total energy consumption, control peak demand for energy, manage energy cost volatility, and improve energy reliability. The NYSERDA seven step model for energy management planning represents an excellent framework for small water system operators and decision makers to take concrete actions to reduce energy costs. These steps include establishing an organizational commitment; developing a baseline of energy use; evaluating the system and collecting data; identifying energy efficiency opportunities; prioritizing opportunities for implementation; developing an implementation plan; and tracking progress and reporting success stories to stakeholders. The webinar allows viewers to hear some small water system professionals speak about their experiences with energy management planning.