At a ceremony recently in Nashville, EPA and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) officials recognized seven drinking water and wastewater utilities throughout Tennessee for their efforts to reduce energy demand at their facilities. Improvements already made at four of the utilities are saving 3,300,000 kilowatt hours (kWh), $260,000 and over 3200 tons of annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Added to additional improvements underway or planned at the utilities, the initiative is expected to save over 7M kWh per year and reduce CO2 emissions by 6,696 tons—equivalent to removing 1,190 cars from the road or powering 739 homes for a year. Participating utilities are projected to save an average 17.8 percent in energy demand—amounting to an estimated $663,750 in cost savings, with individual utilities expected to save between $15,750 and $210,000 each.
“Drinking water and wastewater systems account for approximately three to four percent of energy use in the United States, adding over 45 million tons of greenhouse gases annually,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming. “EPA applauds these utilities in Tennessee for their leadership in reducing energy use, which is expected to save costs and yield substantial health and environmental benefits across the state and Southeastern region.”
The utilities and their projected annual energy and cost savings include:
“TDEC has strived to become a more customer-focused department, improving both our community outreach and helping us maintain meaningful partnerships with key stakeholders,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Today's gathering is a great example of how government partnerships can work together and we've been pleased to help provide these communities with energy efficiency tools, expertise and support for Tennessee's water and wastewater utilities -- assisting them in reducing energy costs and environmental pollution, while saving money and benefiting their ratepayers.”
Each of the utilities participated in workshops and conducted energy assessments to determine how best to reduce energy use at their respective plants. Operational improvements ranged from minimizing the number and use of blowers to adjusting collection, UV disinfection and aerobic digestion processes to optimize performance. Several utilities participate in EnerNOC, TVA’s demand response program. In addition, two utilities added solar panel arrays to their plants which allowed them to realize further energy savings. The utilities used EPA’s online ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to benchmark and track energy use and savings at their facilities.
The Tennessee Water and Wastewater Energy Efficiency Partnership began in 2011 as a collaboration of EPA Region 4, TDEC, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the University of Memphis, the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service, the Environmental Finance Center (University of North Carolina) and Schneider Electric. It is the first statewide effort of its kind in the Southeast.
For more information about the Tennessee Water and Wastewater Energy Efficiency Partnership, visit www.tn.gov/environment/tnwweep, and energy efficiency for drinking water and wastewater utilities, visit http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/energyefficiency.cfm.
SOURCE: United States Environmental Protection Agency