Water utilities can save up to 25 % of their power costs

The consultancy ProCom, located in Aachen, Germany, shows water utilities how they can manage the operation of their drinking water systems in accordance with power prices - and profit from low prices on power exchanges.

The consultancy ProCom GmbH, located in Aachen, opens up enormous saving potential to water utilities. If operation of drinking water utilities is led by power prices, it is possible to save up to 25% of power costs. The basic idea consists in planning the operation of water storage facilities - e.g., water towers - according to power prices and no longer only to tank filling levels. In other words: water tanks are preferably filled when the power price is low. Operation of expansion turbines is shifted to times with high power prices.

Since reliability of supply enjoys top priority in provision of drinking water, numerous restrictions must be observed such as minimum filling levels, reserves for firefighting purposes and mix ratios. These restrictions place high demands on operational planning. To cope with the increasing complexity, ProCom offers a planning solution for drinking water systems based on the IT platform BoFiT.

Model-based operational planning
The ProCom planning solution for drinking water systems is based on a techno-economic model. It models all economic conditions - such as power purchase agreements and market constraints - as well as all relevant technical parameters and restrictions such as minimum and maximum filling levels of water storage facilities. The solution calculates the optimal operational plan on the basis of availabilities, power prices and demand forecasts. The system strictly observes the constraints of the model to assure the security of supply at all times.

Process consulting and support
In addition to knowledge of power markets and their rules, a change in the management of drinking water facilities requires implementation and/or modification of control and planning processes. ProCom consultants provide the necessary power market expertise. They support clients in designing processes and in implementing solutions. The IT platform BoFiT additionally offers the possibility of supporting and automating central processes company-wide. The operational change will therefore not result in additional burdens on company staff.

Cloud-based solution as option
For companies that prefer to avoid procurement and operational costs for hardware and software, ProCom offers a cloud-based solution. In such cases, ProCom sets up and organises a standard IT solution in its data processing service centre. Users of the cloud solution daily submit their input values - such as availabilities - and receive the optimal operational plan for their facilities by e-mail or through an FTP server.

Drinking water facilities can earn money on the power market
For multi-commodity utilities, expansion of the basic solution is highly advisable. Drinking water plants can be integrated into a power generation portfolio and offer significant added value. The high flexibility of fast reacting drinking water pumps can, for example, be marketed on balancing energy markets. In best cases, money is earned when the pumps are running.

For further information please email Procom GmbH

Click here to enquire about this story 

N.B. The information contained in this entry is provided by Procom GmbH, and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

© Faversham House Group Ltd 2014. edie news articles may be copied or forwarded for individual use only. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.