The Process Improvements program offered by B.C. Hydro Power Smart is administered by Willis Energy Services Limited. It is an excellent model of a program designed to promote and financially support innovation in the pursuit of energy efficiency for large industrial customers. The program has proven that sophisticated retrofits in the industrial sector can be catalyzed and bought at a low cost from a utility perspective.
Process Improvements is based on the engineering expertise of its administrator whose staff provide a wealth of experience related to the program’s prime target: the pulp and paper industry. Staff including B.C. Hydro staff, identify opportunities for energy and dollar savings in industries, some of which require utility incentives to shorten customer payback periods. In other cases, this engineering support has resulted in retrofits where customers are not eligible for program incentives yet elect to pursue retrofits on their own due to exceptionally short payback periods of the measures identified. Thus the program effectively pushes the marketplace with incentives, and pulls the marketplace by working with customers to help them identify cost effective retrofit opportunities.
Process Improvements has evolved in a number of ways: Incentive levels have been downwardly adjusted and select technologies have been moved out of the program to B.C. Hydro's more prescriptive programs. In terms of financing, smaller retrofits are generally based upon a set formula while the incentives for larger projects are negotiated on a case-by-case basis, underscoring the basic objective of engaging energy efficiency retrofits at the least cost while remaining sensitive to the needs and financial resources of customers.
To date marketing the program has been focused on B.C. Hydro’s 590 largest industrial customers with peak demands of greater than 1 MW. In fact special emphasis has been placed upon the approximately 85 very large "transmission voltage" customers who account for over 90% of the energy sales to the large customer group. The program has served as a powerful customer service for these important customers, helping them retrofit their facilities with gear reducers, synchronous belts, efficient refrigeration equipment, and other retrofit projects such as large mechanical debarkers used in the pulp and paper industries, turbo generators, compressed air equipment, and pulpers. By working closely with these customers, Process Improvements has engaged process changes in industries that will not only save money and reduce power consumption, but which will also support the economic viability of the province of British Columbia.
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