Two grants from EGLE have helped the city of Grand Rapids and Holland Board of Public Works improve the efficiency of their water utilities, saving energy and money in the process.
Water is pumped 40 miles from the Lake Michigan Filtration Plant (where it is treated) to the greater Grand Rapids area. The energy cost associated with pumping water over that distance is $1.1 million annually, a cost ultimately borne by ratepayers.
Grand Rapids' energy bill has a 4-tier rate structure, which changes based on the season. This makes energy during on-peak hours up to 84% more expensive than off-peak hours. Its complex system — with nine pumps and numerous storage tanks — makes it difficult for operators to determine the most energy efficient operations.
At the Holland BPW, they, too, were looking to optimize their high service pumping. Some 40% of its electrical costs are related to on-peak demand charges.
EGLE's grant to Aquasight, a Michigan-based AI Technology company, helped the two utilities optimize their pumping operations to meet storage, demand and reliability needs, with its ATLAS real-time intelligence platform.
At the Grand Rapids utility, implementing low and no-cost solutions will help in realizing:
Annual energy savings at the Holland BPW plant will result in $61,000 economic benefits, which can be reinvested for up to $800,000 in capital investments.
The experience impressed Mike Grenier, superintendent of Grand Rapids' Lake Michigan Filtration plant. "It's findings like these that make it easier to justify pursuing other innovative technologies," he said.
"Our water treatment plant team can continuously optimize operations, explore what-if scenarios, keep track of where pumps are operating on the curve and utilize this knowledge to enhance operations," noted Jim Van De Wege, the Holland plant's superintendent. "This is the future for the water sector operators."
To keep up on EGLE energy-related funding opportunities, check out its website.