Keep Pace with the Transforming Energy Market

Utilities’ use of lattice box structures is not a new concept. In fact, utilities have used the design in substations for well over a hundred years. In recent years, utilities have looked at their existing lattice box structures and asked themselves: Can this structure support new upgraded equipment or should we replace it? But how do you determine if this existing structure can have an extended service life? 

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According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), industrial sector energy use accounts for more than 30 percent of the country’s total energy consumption. Further, the EIA projects this percentage will continue to increase over the next 30 years. This growing energy use opens doors for substantial energy savings.

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Whenever a utility puts up a power line, they also must manage the vegetation that surrounds that line.  As long as there are trees and overhead power lines, vegetation management will be one of the most important – and expensive – operational areas confronting an electric utility. 

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Grid hardening is a combined system of actions that create a strong infrastructure to better protect utility customers from weather-related outages. From physical structures to communications to effective documentation, grid hardening entails an end-to-end approach that better protects infrastructure and improves levels of service in the event of extreme weather.

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Variable-frequency Drives (VFDs) in HVAC units currently provide one of the more effective ways organizations can invest in energy efficiency. However, companies just starting to explore this option, or unaware of its savings, need to act fast. Legislation is expected to make VFDs code, which could end the opportunity to receive energy efficiency rebates on the technology before it is mandated 

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Production and IT teams share a similar goal - to create value for their organization. Their responsibilities, however, are often at odds with each other. Production is commonly judged by the output produced, while IT is evaluated based on system uptime and cybersecurity defense.

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Most water and wastewater facilities in North America were built decades ago with little, if any, consideration or attention given to energy use or energy efficiency. Now, water and wastewater utilities spend approximately $4 billion each year on energy costs. For wastewater specifically, energy usage represents up to 30 percent of total operation and maintenance costs, and as energy costs rise so do operating costs. In fact, energy is the largest controllable cost of providing water and wastewater services to the public, so progressive wastewater agencies are recognizing the benefits energy efficiency programs can deliver at their facilities.

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