In 2013, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric, and San Diego Gas and Electric (collectively referred to as the IOUs) issued the Innovative Design for Energy Efficiency Activities (IDEEA 365) solicitation which was designed as a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach intended to draw from the skill, experience, and creativity of the energy-efficiency community. The process looked to ascertain newer methods or program designs that are not currently in the IOU’s portfolio that capture cost-effective electric energy savings (kWh) and peak demand reduction (kW) for both short- and long-term goals.
One of the primary electric energy-saving problems that Lincus choose to address was the rising cost of water production and distribution. Lower water levels coupled with growing populations drive ever increasing pumping costs as providers struggle to meet consumer demand. Seasonal operations, lack of benchmarking data, and the first-cost orientation of the municipal sector have resulted in functional, yet sub-optimal, networks, resulting in an inefficient use of water production and distribution systems.
Research performed by the Energy Commission has found that water and energy resources are inextricably connected, and this is known as the Water-Energy Nexus . Transportation and treatment of water, treatment and disposal of wastewater, and the energy used to heat and consume water account for nearly 20% of the total electricity and 30% of non-power plant-related natural gas consumed in California. Water-related electricity use is 48 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year.
Water Agencies, Special Districts, and City-owned water and wastewater systems were not being fully served by any of the IOU’s programs and have been underserved by the IOU’s third-party implemented programs. Lincus believed that the market potential in this segment was over 1.5 billion kWh and 188 MW in electric savings (based on a conservative 10% energy reduction). Lincus also strongly believed that this program needed to be implemented by all IOUs ascertain comprehensive energy saving across a large-scale market segment.
In addition, Lincus felt that there was a general lack of understanding and training related to the IDSM opportunities in water systems. Research indicated that almost every water and wastewater agency has the potential to reduce annual energy costs by up to 20%, although in many cases those agencies have not done so simply because a clear set of instructions detailing how to capture maximum energy cost savings is not available. Most water agencies are operationally very complex, which means that defining how a water system can be operated to minimize energy costs is often very difficult to accomplish, requiring experience and knowledge many Water Agencies and Special Districts do not possess.
Lincus designed an integrated demand side management (IDSM) program focused primarily on a gap in the IOU’s portfolio, namely a need to address their underserved market of municipal, special districts, and city-owned water and wastewater agencies. Our comprehensive program, known as the Water Infrastructure and System Efficiency (WISE™) Program, combined Lincus’ innovative marketing, engineering, and program management with our staff’s extensive experience in project implementation.
The WISE™ Program is a comprehensive, turnkey solution for water and wastewater system operators that offers no-cost energy engineering services, project support, and cash incentives. Lincus uses a holistic approach, combining existing pump tests and hydraulic modeling to evaluate how water and wastewater customers can optimize their distribution and treatment systems.
The program focuses on both individual pump efficiency improvements and comprehensive system optimization measures. These measures include, but are not limited to the following:
Lincus’ proven energy-efficiency strategies bridged the gap between project identification and implementation by providing pump test information in a ranked order of opportunity using our integrated Pump tool (iPT).
Lincus’ WISE™ Program was designed specifically to assist water and wastewater customers identify energy-efficiency projects, save money on their electric bills, and secure incentives to help offset installation costs and engineering services. Once customers were able to easily identify applicable IDSM measures specific for them, projects moved from concept to installation at a rapid pace, most offering a simple payback of less than five years.
The WISE program is anticipated to surpass its statewide goals of 50 million kWh and 6.25 MW, saving IOU customers over $5 million per year.