Sunday, 13 November 2011

Industrial Energy Audit - A Perspective

Energy Audit is a very important periodic exercise carried out with the objective of achieving Energy Conservation and improving Energy Efficiency - mainly for Industrial Plants and Commercial Facilities. Some States have a mandate for Energy Audit to be carried out by designated Industries once every 2-3 years. Why is Energy Audit so important and why have a mandate in place for something so useful is a flummoxing question.

As a matter of fact every Industrial Plant or a Commercial Facility - however efficiently run will have scope for Energy Saving. There are various reasons for the same -

  1. Dynamic Changes - every plant / facility undergoes some changes (expansion / addition / removal) over a period of time and the overall energy consumption and trends may change because of this.
  2. Emergence of Advanced Technology Equipment and Retrofit which save significant energy due to efficient running.
  3. Critical Assessment including Advanced Thermography for Thermal Energy Audit and Power Quality Check (especially for Harmonics) for Electrical Energy Audit.
  4. Not having a dedicated Energy Cell to monitor and report Energy usage and suggest corrective actions for the same. Many Industrial Plants still rely on Production or Maintenance Teams for the same. Energy Cell is especially recommended for Industrial Plants and specifically for Energy-intensive Industries.
  5. Ageing of Equipment.
  6. Lack of awareness regarding energy saving potential of the plant or about Energy Audit in general with specific plant related inputs.
  7. Not undergoing an Energy Audit. Even for the plants having a dedicated Energy Cell or a Energy Manager - an Energy Audit will prove fruitful. This is because an Energy Audit from a vendor brings in experts from diverse Industries who are dedicated towards achieving results in this domain.
  8. Plant People focus on their primary responsibility. For instance a department HOD may focus only on the domain maintenance and improvements in the particular domain which maybe viewed in isolation. An Energy Audit looks at holistic picture to suggest improvements in the plant.
  9. Although plant people are highly capable there might be times that simpler measures such as operational efficiency may be overlooked- which may deteriorate over a period of time.
  10. Improper maintenance for short-term gains.
  11. Cross-Industrial and Cross-Domain Experience which may not be found within any single plant but may certainly be found in a single Service Provider.
So why despite the ever-rising running costs and Energy Costs are Indian Industries not carrying out Energy Audit on a bigger scale? The answers could be many but the primary reason is the Myths surrounding the Audit. For instance many consider Energy Audit to be the Energy Saver exerciser without any further investment. However the fact remains that Energy Audit is the first step in the direction of Energy Optimization of a Plant. The exercise begins with initial visit or collection of data in the Energy Audit Questionnaire. The Questionnaire is generally filled up by the Plant team and submitted back to the Service Provider / Energy Auditor. On receiving the same the Service Provider proceeds with preparing a Comprehensive and Customized Scope of Work for the Plant. The primary objective of Energy Audit is to explore potential areas for Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency including the ones which require No Investment. So in some sense Energy Audit in itself can also save energy. Although there are recommendations in the Energy Audit Report which indicate retrofits which require investment. However with the due care that the Investments are justified.

It has also been observed that in some few cases Energy Audit is carried out by inexperienced and un-certified engineers who may have no previous experience in this. This impacts the overall outcome and may not actually meet the primary objective of Energy Audit. In such cases an Organizations which are not satisfied with the past Energy Audit are discouraged from carrying out future Energy Audits as well. As a practice Organizations should duly check the experience and expertise of the Vendor. In general Energy Audit is carried out of Electrical and Thermal Utilities and as such a similar Industry experience may prove to be beneficial but may not be deemed necessary. This is because more or less the composition of Electrical and Thermal Utilities remain the same - irrespective of the type of Industry. If however a Process Audit needs to be done then a Domain expert can add value to the exercise.

Energy Audit is the beginning of Energy Saving in a plant and is recommended for almost all the Industries - irrespective of size and type. In the Indian Context Energy Audit has a special role to play as India faces tremendous power shortage (about 10% Peak Deficit) and also the potential for Energy Conservation is estimated at a mind-boggling 25,000 MW.

It may be worthwhile to mention that the exercise bears results for Industries having either a load of above 400 kVA or good Steam Consumption & Boilers. In case a Plant or Facility has both - then a periodic Energy Audit is highly recommended. The frequency of audit may differ from plant to plant and is typically once in 2 years for detailed energy audit. In addition to this a walk-through audit twice a year ensures that Recommendations are implemented and momentum is kept strong. This also ensures that Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency becomes a way of life in the plant and taps the potentials at grass-root level.

For any further information on Energy Audit or Energy Optimization Exercise you may contact us. We have an excellent experience in Energy Audit across various diverse Industries including Steel, Cement, Thermal Power Plant, Chemical, FMCG, Edible Oil etc. Contact Details below. We have had the opportunity to serve Industry Leaders across various Industries. If you are interested in receiving our Client Testimonial and Feedback please do contact us today.


Enerco Energy Solutions LLP 
Email - info [@] econserve [dot] in
Website - www.econserve.in 

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