Squeezing the most out of framework agreements
Here James Chalmers, UK water manager for ABB Ltd, discusses ways in which utilities and suppliers can get more out of each other.
Framework agreements should never just be about products and how much they cost. A good framework should examine how best to optimise the equipment to squeeze every watt of efficiency out of the system. The best way for this to happen is for electrical manufacturers to engage with water utilities at the outset of a project.
For instance, the size of a pump house can be determined by several factors such as planning rules, land availability or the size of the pumps themselves. What if a multi-pump formation was suggested that resulted in a smaller footprint, less energy consumed and lower capital expenditure?
Harmonics are becoming increasingly prevalent in the UK water industry. There are companies that can help determine your sites harmonic level and recommend ways to avoid penalties and reduce the chance of late design considerations. There are also low harmonic drives, designed specifically to tackle the harmonic challenges of the UK networks and the stringent requirements of G5/4 available in the market place.
Energy efficiency remains the prime concern of the water sector. What if you could be shown ways to optimise the installed base of variable-speed drives and motors? Or what if you were introduced to the latest energy efficient technology – the synchronous reluctance motor and drive package (SynRM)? This new technology is capable of up to 5 percent higher energy savings compared to that of a standard drive and IE3 motor. The innovative ideas are endless. Yet the only way a utility will know of the innovation is to ask its partner at the very outset of a project.
That is precisely what Anglian Water Services (AWS) did, resulting in a £2.7 million saving on its energy costs following an intensive four year ABB project to improve energy efficiency at over 100 of its sites. The company had already installed reliable products but then chose to optimise their performance resulting in giant improvements in efficiency.
Utility’s partners must work harder to make sure their frameworks are the best they can be. Yet I do hope this isn’t perceived to be corporate hype. If we, as suppliers, slip away from early involvement then we become merely a commodity supplier. That would be a shame for suppliers and for the industry generally.