B.C.'s industrial electricity users make a difference

Nina Winham

As the days grow short and cold, British Columbians grow thankful for warm homes, hot meals and twinkling lights. This is the season to appreciate our province's efficient and reliable supply of electrical power! And you, our industrial customers, deserve a share of the gratitude: your efforts on efficiency have generated great conservation successes.

B.C.'s industrial sector already contributes to a strong province by providing jobs, a robust economy, and a tax base that helps supports our enviable quality of life. Here at Power Smart, we know our industrial companies are contributing to a healthy future as well – in part, through taking up the challenge to use the province's natural hydroelectric wealth wisely and efficiently. That helps reduce the need for new generation capacity, and contributes to keeping rates low.

It's participation that makes a difference – which is why the industrial companies that are taking on energy efficiency should give themselves a pat on the back. Here's a look at what's been accomplished.

Energy saved? Enough to power 75,000 homes

Our Power Smart Partners Industrial Program helps companies analyze their energy use, pinpoint opportunities for savings, and implement energy efficient technology. Over time, we encourage a comprehensive energy management approach based on employee engagement, monitoring and tracking, and continuous improvement.

To date, Power Smart's Industrial Program has resulted in savings of 624.2 GWh of electricity per year, and industrial rate structures have saved 196.3 GWh of electricity per year. Together that's enough electricity to power every home in the city of New Westminster and Kamloops – about 75,000 homes.

The numbers show that industrial customers are doing their part to conserve: over 40% of total Power Smart energy savings come from industrial customers. Good reason to celebrate!

Big energy use, big opportunity

Meanwhile, the size of B.C.'s industrial sector means there's more work to be done. With the increased mandate for conservation placed on BC Hydro by the Clean Energy Act, we'll be working with you to keep improving efficiency and saving energy.

Of BC Hydro's 1.8 million customers, only about 2,500 are industrial, but together the sector uses about 40% of the energy consumed in the province. A single typical pulp mill uses 400 gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy per year – the same as about 36,000 homes, or all the homes in Mission, Campbell River, and Kitimat combined.

"We'd like industrial customers to look at their whole energy strategy," says Dave Hargreaves, BC Hydro's Manager of Industrial Marketing.

"There are some motors in industrial facilities that by themselves use as much electricity as a small community. If those customers reduce their energy use, there's a huge energy savings potential there," says Hargreaves. "When you look at industrial customers, there's almost always something they can do to improve efficiency. And we're here to help with that."

More investment, more efficiency

With the Power Smart Partners Industrial Program well established, it's a great time to engage in energy efficiency – whether that means first steps or continuing the improvement and building on the savings your company has already accomplished. And BC Hydro is here to support you, with analysis, project planning, incentives, and more. Over the next four years, BC Hydro expects to invest an additional $80 million in industrial sector efficiency programs – an investment expected to yield a return of $120 million. The business case for demand side management programs is based on the cost of the alternative – building new power generation facilities. But Hargreaves says there are benefits to conservation that go beyond the bottom line.

"Reducing inefficiency and helping industrial customers is good for the whole province," he says. "Efficient systems run better, and help to improve product quality. That makes B.C. industries more competitive against companies in other jurisdictions and helps support our B.C. job base."

"If we all help save electricity, we all continue to keep our rates relatively low compared to other places. That's not only good for industrial competitiveness, it's good for every one of us who pays a Hydro bill."

From all of us at Power Smart Industrial – have a warm and safe holiday season, and a very bright New Year!

Source: BC Hydro News