Energy costs can be a major drain on the operation budgets of water utilities, but smart digital network management tools can deliver real impact on the bottom line. SUEZ’s proven AQUADVANCED® Energy technology targets cost savings while powering significant gains in energy efficiency and water quality.
AQUADVANCED® Energy is a unique real-time optimisation system for water distribution networks.
It schedules and automates the operation of pumps and valves, bringing down energy costs while maximising operational performance, water quality and energy efficiency, and improving environmental outcomes.
“With energy costs second only to labour as a major component of operational expenditure, AQUADVANCED® Energy offers a truly innovative solution for utilities to drive real savings across whole networks,” General Manager, Operations East for SUEZ in Australia, Mark Lautre, explained.
“It’s part of an advanced suite of smart digital solutions that we’re putting to work for water utilities to deliver substantial cost reductions and dramatically improve the performance of their assets.”
In the United Kingdom, the Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) became the first European water utility to implement AQUADVANCED® Energy in March 2011.
With an extensive network of 57 water treatment works, 338 water service reservoirs and more than 25,000km of water mains serving a combined population of 4.5 million, the group spent the equivalent of more than $54 million on energy per annum prior to installing the solution.
While the acquisition was driven primarily by the need to minimise, manage and predict energy costs, Northumbrian Water has realised benefits far beyond what they had anticipated.
“The implementation initially targeted the equivalent of around $1.75 million per annum in energy savings for Northumbrian Water, primarily through more efficient pump scheduling,” Mark said.
“These targets were exceeded quite early on, with almost $652,000 in energy cost savings realised in a single year on the first third of the network delivered to that point.
“The complete visibility offered by the improved data also allowed NWG to accurately model energy requirements, which they could use to negotiate more favourable energy supply contracts.”
AQUADVANCED® Energy leverages existing investments in SCADA and telemetry systems to read live data and issue commands to pumps and valves throughout an entire distribution system, constantly adapting it as things change.
It drives optimal operational consistency, resilience and water quality to deliver first-class water, when and where it is needed most.
The comprehensive and immediate data delivered by the system has played a key role in boosting operational efficiency and performance across Northumbrian Water’s entire network.
The system rapidly identifies underperforming assets such as pumps and control valves to facilitate more effective maintenance and replacement programs, conserving infrastructure for long-term cost savings.
Having a centralised, powerful software tool also allows greater support of individual operators across the group’s extensive network of sites, delivering more consistency, predictability and control.
These less tangible benefits have made a major impact beyond energy cost optimisation in the management of complex water networks – not just for Northumbrian Water, but for other utilities around the world.
The technology is unique and ripe for application in the Australian market, and SUEZ AQUADVANCED® Energy is already in use at Unitywater and is attracting great interest in the domestic water sector.
“We’re currently working with two major water utilities on local trials of the solution, with promising results thus far,” Mark said.
“The significant reduction in the generation of greenhouse gases experienced by existing users consuming less power will also replicate easily given the CO2 contribution from coal-fired power plants in Australia.”
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