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Industrial and Commercial Energy Use Optimization

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Industrial and Commercial Energy Use

Energy usage in industrial and commercial sectors is becoming increasingly scrutinized. The US EIA stated in the International Energy Outlook Report that the industrial sector consumes about 54% of the world’s total delivered energy. And there are no plans to slow down. Energy consumption in the sector is expected to increase from 222 quadrillion BTUs in 2012 to 309 quadrillion BTUs in 2040. 

But with growing restraints on energy usage and the pressure to decarbonize, facilities must be designed and operated as efficiently as possible. Facility managers are struggling to find the balance between these opposing ideologies.

State of affairs

While traditional motivations behind energy efficiency and monitoring in plants are still fundamental, importance is now being placed on factors other than cost savings.

Effective energy management can reap rewards from reduction in energy waste to improved plant health to power factor optimization. But where to begin?

Setting baseline consumption levels is a good place to start when developing energy usage strategies. Then comes constant monitoring and regular reporting on results. Effective tracking of energy usage and comparing it against facility output goals helps uncover issues in the system, reduce loss and mitigate risk.

It must be said that implementing such improvement strategies varies on a case-by-case basis. Facilities vary widely in age, type and complexity. As old plants reach maturity, pressure is being placed on facility operators to increase efficiency in systems which were not built with modern energy efficiency in mind. These complex plants and buildings may encounter a range of issues as they develop: ageing power cables, water damage, faulty components. Who knows, rats could be chewing on a wire. 

New facilities are being built with efficiency and sustainability targets in advance, with comprehensive monitoring, including SCADA systems that rival that of utility companies themselves. This wealth of information can be used to develop effective predictive and prescriptive models. On top of this, nowadays building and plant designers are factoring rooftop solar, micro-grids and other modern technologies into architectural plans. With this source of intermittent generation, more granular monitoring and maintaining balance are essential. 

Importance of data

Data is the key. Understanding and leveraging the value of energy-flow data within the network can reap huge savings and rewards, even in the short-term.

However, as facilities become modernized and perhaps more importantly – digitized, it’s important that the digital representation of the network is correct. This begins with validating and correcting connectivity and topology accuracy across the network model. Many industrial plants have Single Line Diagrams, and it is valuable to have these updated, maintained, and verified. Having devices, motors, production lines, sensors and other network elements connected within the system, clear visualization and transparency of the data can be achieved – these assets become your digital twin inside your topology models.

New technologies

Automation, IoT and smart sensors have become every-day language in C&I facilities. These devices can be installed in new and old plants and the data they provide unleashes a whole new realm of analytical capabilities.

What’s important is that tools which are used to monitor the system must be capable of ingesting and aggregating data from every device and technology which collects data. All data is useful. If any is left out, resulting analytics may be inaccurate and counter-productive. 

Contrary to the former point, however, it is better to get started analyzing the data that you do have, working towards quick simple wins. Building an iterative process, rather than trying to create a perfect solution will help drive progress, and keep you and your teams motivated throughout the process.

Once an automated flow of data into such a tool is set up, energy-flow can be visualized and understood from a different perspective. Energy consumption can be broken down by type of device, by section of the grid and by energy usage. With a means of visualizing energy flow spatially, facility operators and energy managers can make more intelligent, data-driven decisions. This type of situational awareness is essential when responding to issues and diagnosing at-risk assets.

How to begin

Awesense’s True Grid Intelligence® (TGI) platform helps our Commercial and Industrial partners monitor their energy usage, detect issues in their network and improve energy efficiency across the board.

We work closely with operators and engineers to solve issues in both old and modern facilities. If an extra layer of visibility is required, Awesense Raptor Sensors can help.

With so much information flowing through the system, what facilities need is a solution to help make sense of that data. TGI does exactly that. 

Our experts, software and hardware help to:

  • Improve energy efficiency across the board 
  • Lower energy usage costs
  • Diagnose and solve issues quickly and effectively
  • Avoid power factor penalties
  • Improve asset health and lifespan 
  • Reduce risk

If you need to monitor, analyze and optimize your facility’s energy usage, get in touch at sales@awesense.com