When it comes to costs in water-related sectors such as water treatment, wastewater management and irrigation, the energy expense of pumping is a huge factor.
For some water utilities 95% of their budget is consumed by electrical costs. According to Water Online, USA water utilities consume 56 billion kilowatts costing $4 billion per annum. This equates to between 3- 4% of the entire country’s electricity consumption.
Another large pumping-related energy user in the water industry is irrigation.
As an example, analysis of data from the 2008 USDA Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey showed that the average energy use for irrigating crops in Nebraska alone would be equivalent to about 340 million gallons of diesel fuel annually if all pumps were powered with diesel engines.
According to a report by the New South Wales Farmers’ Association, audits of Australia irrigation farms have found that energy used in irrigation can account for upwards of 50% of a total farm energy bill. Although these statistics may seem staggering, there are strategies to reduce these costs.
To be as efficient as possible, utility operators and irrigation users are identifying key issues behind why their consumption costs are so high.
One strategy they use to increase pumping cost-effectiveness is to understand and take advantage of energy tariffs.
Timing high energy consumption with off-peak hours can significantly reduce energy costs for water utilities.
While the big water utilities have the ability to regulate timing and other factors using complex control systems, it is not so easy for smaller applications such as irrigation to harness these benefits.
This one of the reasons we looked closely at the control functions in our new EMX4 soft starter, and identified what sort of smart features our customers could use to achieve efficiencies in their applications.
AuCom’s EMX4 Pumping Smart Card extends the functions of our new EMX4 soft starter, enabling pumping operators to schedule and automate usage, minimising manual intervention and ensuring continued operation.
Using the calendar feature on the EMX4, pumping operators are able to sync high energy production times with off-peak energy periods. Particular when used in combination with premium efficiency IE3 motors, this simple strategy can cut significant costs from energy consumption bills, contributing towards more efficient water utility and irrigation operations.
To find out more about how you can make the most of premium efficiency motors, download the AuCom brochure, ‘EMX4: redefining soft starters'.