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Then God said: “Let there be light”, and there was light. (Genesis, verse 3. Old Testament)
Nowadays, God’s second action after creating heaven and Earth would undoubtedly not have been quite so easy. Or maybe it would... provided you ignore the bill that you’d be faced with for that sort of untimely lighting extravagance.
The truth is that a great deal of energy has gone under the bridge between those biblical beginnings and now. Two industrial revolutions, millions of technological inventions and a dramatic rate of environmental degradation later, “letting there be light” – or what boils down to the same thing, getting the
machinery in any home, industry or institution working – is the result of complex mechanisms for generating, transporting, selling and distributing that energy. An apparatus that contains myriad economic variables, that affects the current accounts of everyone involved, that has a direct impact on the health of our planet, and that, as a result, presents a huge challenge for water cycle companies.
Caught between increasingly substantial demand and supply, managing energy flows has lost any kind of mystical connotation to become a priority issue on the agendas of governments, business owners and all the way down the line
to the humble user. Of course, what is cause for concern in a household grows exponentially as the amount you use gets larger. This is happening to such an extent that the presence of professional energy managers has become an almost compulsory requirement in large-scale industries, the main consumers of this natural phenomenon that geniuses like Faraday, Ohm, Volta, Ampère and Edison tamed and took to people’s homes as if by magic.
Because, since the electricity market was deregulated across most of the world, there can be a significant difference in bills depending on the methods used to purchase and consume the watts needed for everyday life. Very few people have the knowledge or the time to find out how to save money and not
waste natural resources through high tension cables.
“It’s about being more efficient, and there are many ways of doing this, because you can work towards this from a whole range of aspects”, explains Baptiste Usquin, Aqualogy’s Energy Efficiency Product Manager. In fact, the issue can be approached from a number of very different angles. Just as it’s evident that nowadays it isn’t God who “lets there be light”, the pathways towards Integrated Energy Management are not unfathomable. In summary, the solutions available can be grouped into six items: electricity supply remote measuring, contract optimisation, purchasing energy, providing information and checking bills, monitoring subsidies, and, in the specific case of the service provided by Aqualogy, controlling and
guaranteeing that 100% of the electricity managed will be from renewable sources – as certified by the National Energy Commission – and the direct result of a strong commitment to sustainable development.
The services included in each of these items are already very varied, but it’s worth turning into a watt and travelling along the power cables without fear of electrocution.
SECRETS OF POWER
The first and essential step in pursuit of energy efficiency is to analyse consumption. The best method for doing this is to split the measurement of usage into sectors, which entails fitting
extra equipment (in addition to the company’s general meter) that makes a minute by minute analysis of the amount of electricity absorbed by each sector and by each piece of machinery in the production chain. To do this, Aqualogy’s Energy Efficiency department has a software tool that permanently collects, groups and classifies data captured by the remote measurement devices, to determine the exact times, phases and volume of flow used in each part of the installation being studied. Plus, the same system is able to simultaneously measure issues related to water usage, such as volume of flow, pressure and other data such as outside
temperature, making it even more useful. This enables industrial plants to find out the best times to fill their water tanks, for example, if they have them.
This kind of knowledge also allows us to jump to the next step, which is optimising the supply contracts that a consumer of over 10 kW has to sign with the energy supplier of their choice. This is not a trivial matter. If you don’t know for sure how much you’re consuming you run two risks: contracting less power than you actually need and paying extra charges for exceeding the set limits; or contracting too much and paying for a service that you’re not using.
Next, it’s time to buy energy. We need to clarify that the final price of the monthly electricity bill includes headings that aren’t
always easy to understand. But at least we can try. Basically, half the rate you pay is a price fixed by the State for the cost of transporting and distributing electricity, plus taxes. But the other half is deregulated and it’s here where paths go off in two directions, enabling savings to be made – or not – on your monthly bill. Any consumer can contract a fixed price with their supplier during particular periods of time for the energy they are going to use (in this case, Aqualogy has teams that can advise users or even take part in these negotiations) or take a look around the market.
Although it may not be as well-known as Wall Street or the Frankfurt, London or Madrid stock exchanges, energy has its
own Stock Exchange in nearly all countries in the west. There, every day and at certain times, electricity production companies negotiate with sellers and major consumers to set the 24 prices for electricity during the following day. Brokers who know how to play the market can generate cost savings of up to 10% of the annual bill. Of course, as always happens when you trade on the Stock Exchange, there is a risk factor involved but you have to take it – unfortunately there’s no such thing as the perfect mechanism.
Once all the levels of consumption have been measured, the optimum power contract has been signed and the energy
needed has been purchased, it’s time to pay for the electricity consumed. At that point, Aqualogy’s Integrated Energy Management service puts forward an exact simulation of the bill that the company is expected to receive, to check that the amount they are paying coincides with the real situation and, of course, to support any claim that may have to be made.
Lastly, the group of experts carries out a daily scrutiny of the subsidies that a client might be able to take advantage of to reduce their energy costs, paying particular attention to any subsidies affecting water cycle management-related issues.
And, as we have said, to ensure that all electricity consumed is from renewable sources, to consolidate our commitment to the environment and reduce the overall carbon footprint.
It’s all worth it to ensure that every morning “there is light” without anyone paying too high a price, including our planet. x