Real Solutions To Protect Your Business Now
After coming out of the recent economic good times, 2001 has been a year to shake our confidence. Our nation has been attacked; our economy has slowed. Earlier in the year, we wondered if the California electric grid was beginning to resemble that of a Third World nation. We experienced rolling blackouts. Utilities were caught between price controls and deregulation. And we saw evidence that fossil fuel emissions were carrying us into the catastrophe of global warming.
According to the National Energy Policy Development Group, headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, “U.S. energy consumption is projected to increase by about 32 percent by 2020. Unless a comprehensive national energy policy is adopted, Americans will continue to feel the effects of an inadequate electrical transmission grid, a pipeline system stretched to capacity, insufficient domestic energy supply, and a regional imbalance in supply sources.”
The sensible response to the power situation is self-defense. Plant engineers nationwide are asking whether their companies can afford the risks of blackouts and brownouts. Is now the time to invest in a robust backup power system? Does it make sense to generate one’s own prime power? What kinds of tax incentives might exist for using alternative energy sources? And how can we further reduce our energy consumption?
What Can Your Country Do For You?
This year the California Public Utilities Commission announced a Self-Generation Program to provide incentives to customers to produce energy using microturbines, small gas turbines, wind turbines, photovoltaics, fuel cells, and internal combustion engines. The incentives include payments of $1 – $4.50/Watt depending on the technology used and will be funded at $138 million annually through 2004.
Illinois offers grants up to $1 million in a Renewable Energy Resources Program to foster development and use of renewable energy resources. These technologies include hydropower, organic waste biomass, photovoltaic cells and panels, solar thermal energy, dedicated crops grown for energy production, and wind.
You can find information on these and other programs across the nation under “Financial Incentives” at www.dcs.ncsu.edu/solar/dsire/dsire.cfm . Find information on federal incentives for solar power at www.mdv-seia.org under “Fact Sheets.” Search “federal incentives for energy” on an Internet search engine for more.
What You Can Do For Yourself
Our special report leads off with a story from Harbec Plastics, a company that chose to generate its own power and to use the exhaust from its microturbines to provide heat in the winter and power a cooling system in the summer.
Eaton’s Cutler-Hammer Business offers a ground-up approach, starting with submetering equipment to monitor lines, processes, and departments to form the basis of a company’s overall energy strategy. Albany International tells us about its high-speed doors that close quickly and seal from top to bottom to prevent the loss of heated or chilled air. Cooper Turbocompressor offers us a variety of energy-saving solutions for that other plant utility, compressed air.
Baldor Electric provides us with data on its high-efficiency motors. SEW Eurodrive demonstrates the dramatic effects the selection of drive types will have on energy consumption. Rockwell Automation offers us a story on savings from the use of energy-matched motors, and drives. Kaeser explains how variable frequency drives cut compressed air costs. FLIR Systems shows us how to monitor power equipment.
We encourage you to read and benefit. More power to you!
Many have already taken action. An RKS Research & Consulting survey of 831 energy decision-makers in eight U.S. industries found that:
34% employ on-site power generation
30% have purchased insurance to protect against power outage – caused business interruptions
34% have suffered financial losses from power outages
54% are interested in generating their own electricity to reduce demand