Pumping systems absorb in the neighbourhood of 20% of all motor driven electrical energy usage in the United States. However, established efficiency incentive programs only contribute a small proportion of incentive dollars to save energy in pumping systems. The programs today are mostly centred around the use of high efficiency motors, which only result in small energy savings. The addition of variable speed often saves far less than envisioned. The programs centre on component efficiency as opposed to a complete system approach which has the opportunity to save substantially more energy. Custom incentive programs for pumping energy savings are cumbersome, under resourced, and their usage is small.
This paper highlights a number of case studies where substantial pumping energy savings were obtained. The projects were eligible for incentives from subsidy programs. However, the major driver of the upgrades was not an energy incentive program or even energy efficiency itself. The projects proceeded for other reasons. An environment is needed where energy upgrades of pumping systems are the norm in the industry and not just a by-product of the few pumping system upgrade projects which proceed for other reasons. Revamped national or regional energy incentive programs could mean that the majority of these opportunities could progress and a huge amount of energy could be saved.
The paper outlines suggested prescriptive incentives, measures, validation programs, and tools, which would propel the majority of these process upgrades to proceed. The resulting savings from these programs have the potential to reduce the electrical energy consumption in North America by 5% or even more.