Managers are nowadays exploring several strategies to boost their top line revenues. The most successful and immediate proven results strategy that was experienced so far consists on adopting an energy management strategy: it is essential for decreasing the consumption of energy sources and limiting negative effects on business, environment, safety, and employees’ productivity.
Effective Energy Management goes beyond an energy monitoring solution. Users are not only interested in tracking energy consumption KPIs, but also in maintaining asset performance, optimizing energy cost, and guiding operators through step-by-step actions to fix energy gaps. The overall approach shall adopt the standard ISO 50001: 2011 that provides an energy management model of continuous improvement of processes and operations.
Benefits from Adopting Energy Management Approach
The most obvious benefit from implementing an energy management approach is cost reduction. A tracking of energy consumption over assets should be performed. Any energy consumption gap is highlighted to cut the cost by setting appropriate energy savings and fault resolution.
Moreover, the approach should be based on predictive analysis to reduce the risk of energy overconsumption, power shortage, and to highlight in advance the energy savings opportunities. In addition to predictive models, a set of what-if scenarios should be in place to simulate scenarios of shutdowns and slowdowns, and make sure to have the appropriate arrangement that reduces as minimum as possible these risks. Business should operate in proactive manner to better seize energy saving opportunities.
Good energy management practices encourage reducing carbon emissions and energy use. Worldwide businesses are aware about the strict environmental regulations that have increased recently due to climate change concerns. The reduction of greenhouse emissions and energy use becomes today a strategic decision to drive business growth and increase profitability while preserving a good reputation.
Guidelines for Effective Energy Management
Organizations must recognize the direct relationship of energy efficiency, the environmental performance, and the business model. To reach the desired outcomes, organizations should integrate strategies in their day-to-day activities to minimize energy consumption and to raise awareness about the cost of energy and its impact on the profitability of the company, on the work environment, and on the global emissions. Effective energy management framework relies on the following core functions:
- Tracking Energy Consumption KPIs Against the Best Performance Models
Relevant data used for the energy consumption KPIs should be collected several times a day. Operations should track energy consumption KPIs from the asset level up to the plant-wide level. The energy KPIs should be compared to the best performance models retrieved from historical data or performance curves.
- Root Cause Analysis to Pinpoint the Cause of the Inefficiency
The asset responsible for the energy gap should be identified. The analysis should go deeper than simply identifying the asset responsible. A root cause analysis technique should be elaborated to check the different causes of the inefficiency and pinpoint the root cause of the inefficiency.
- Actionable Knowledge Insights for Immediate Resolution
When the root cause of the energy gap is identified, a corrective plan should be elaborated to immediately fix the issue to cut the energy overconsumption and minimize its impact on the cost, the profitability, and the environment. The corrective actions should be documented and follows the operating procedures.
- Energy Cost Optimization for Optimal Settings
Interrelated constrained models should be also elaborated to provide the organization with the best settings and optimal asset arrangement. The model should reflect the cost of the energy consumption for an asset, an area, or for the plant. Constraints take into account the thermodynamic relations between process parameters, assets and piping capacities, mass and energy balances, etc.
Optimization models can be used to run specific what-if scenarios to get prepared for unplanned events and minimize the impact of asset faults.
- Tracking Savings and Opportunity Loss to Raise Awareness
Energy savings and opportunity losses should be calculated. These calculation’s results raise awareness in the operators’ side to make better results. Opportunity loss is also an important indicator, as it gives an idea on how efficient the assets are and how well the operators are responding to energy performance issues.
Energy Management for Continuous Improvement
Ideally energy management drive is an ongoing process that relies on PDCA approach to find new opportunities to run operations efficiently with minimum energy rate. The ultimate goal is to maximize the energy savings while preventing pollution and gas emissions. To reach these goals in a more effective manner, an energy management system with core functions (presented above as guidelines) is deployed online. A visualization interfaces can be added to the system to share KPIs calculation and root cause analysis results between end users.