Energy is one of the most critical element of the nature that drives life. Over the period of thousands of years, the human civilization evolved from mere predator animals to now one of the most intelligent species on the earth that virtually rules the planet, and now exploring the lives beyond this planet. On the journey to this progress, the first milestone was Industrialization, Industry 1.0 – the founding stone of today’s quest for Industry 4.0. Then de-facto energy generation became a priority and various sources of channelizing such generated energy came into existence.
Today not only industrialization but also our day-to-day lives have been so much dependent on such sources of energy that almost all the sorts of energy needs are converted to a particular type of energy requirement, i.e. Electricity. Starting from the varying need of lighting, cooling/heating, construction, manufacturing, entertainment, etc. – now use of electricity is penetrating to address the requirements related to cooking, transport, hospitality & convenience, etc. A record says at the time of independence with a population of 37.6 crores, India’s electricity generation capacity was 1362 MW, and with growing population and technological advancement, now the nation is capable of generating 326,841 MW of electricity serving the population of 130 crores. Till 2001, energy management was the concern only for the utilities. Thereafter the drive for global competitiveness and energy cost optimization brought large manufacturing units under the ambit of energy management. Continued pressure on cost optimization forced most of the industries to think of energy management, critically.
For any manufacturing entity, the overall cost of production can be classified under below heads:
- Raw material
- Fuel (Gas / Oil / Diesel / etc.)
- Marketing and Promotions
Over a period of time, organizations charted ways and means to curb increasing costs of different heads, but gradually they found that controlling the cost of electricity is of the most prominent importance. This is how Energy Management got introduced to industries.
So, what is this Energy Management? Energy Management serves all or any of the below objectives to the organization that intends to implement it:
- Asset level awareness about the energy consumption
- Electricity Bill reconciliation
- Cost optimization
- Optimal asset utilization
- Optimal resource utilization
- Conservation of the natural resources
- Reduced impact on the climate
Energy Management has a lot of different dimensions one can think and implement of, such as
- Asset level metering
- Digital meters to read the energy consumption related data
- Data recording
- Data analysis
- Consumption Estimation
- Consumption benchmarking
- Asset maintenance planning
- Integrated production and maintenance
- Optimized plant operation
In a nutshell, one can say planning and operation of the two groups of assets, viz. Energy Consumption and Energy Generation/Sourcing, from energy management. All the actions under this ambit conclude broadly three actions, viz. Monitoring, Analysing and Controlling. Different organizations have different ways and means for all three activities. And as a result of these what do they achieve is:
- Disciplined energy consumption
- Low pilferage
- Optimum asset utilization and availability for production
In the subsequent posts, we shall write about various methodologies adopted for Energy Management by the industries, and what are the contemporary practices for the same.