Protecting the environment has always been a top priority of Tampa Bay Water. In fact, Tampa Bay Water was created in 1998 to meet the region’s needs for high-quality drinking water while reducing the region’s reliance on groundwater pumping so the surrounding environment could recover. But did you know Tampa Bay Water’s commitment to the environment doesn’t stop with water? The agency is reducing its energy consumption as well.
Tampa Bay Water provides water on an on-demand basis to more than 2.5 million people through the governments we serve in a service area that covers over 2,000 square miles. This means Tampa Bay Water does not control demand, but instead responds to the water demands of its member governments, making it much harder to contain electricity costs. Yet over the last 10 years, Tampa Bay Water has consistently been under the American Water Works Association (AWWA) benchmark for energy consumption.
Tampa Bay Water’s energy management program follows an ISO 50001 Energy Management System (a global standard for energy use) and includes an in-house energy team to evaluate and implement energy-saving projects as well as outside expertise from an energy program consultant when needed. Components of the program include facility energy audits, technology tools, renewable energy projects, and utility rebates.
Tampa Bay Water has already completed energy audits on several of its facilities, and more are in progress. The agency also just implemented an energy billing software that houses energy billing data, reports consumption and performs billing audits to identify potential billing errors.
Plans are underway to add a hydropower energy recovery unit at the South Pasco Water Treatment Plant after completing a hydropower technologies study, and staff is currently evaluating the use of solar panels at the C.W. Bill Young Reservoir.
Another way Tampa Bay Water helps contain its energy consumption and even earn revenue is by participating in TECO’s Commercial Demand Response Program, where Tampa Bay Water switches to generator power to reduce peak summer and winter demand for the electric utility. Since joining the program in 2007, Tampa Bay Water has earned $1.8 million in funds from TECO. These funds go toward our capital improvement program.
Our capital improvement projects often garner energy savings as well. For instance, Tampa Bay Water has saved more than $350,000 in energy costs since 2011 at its Clearwater administration building by updating the air conditioning system. Since replacing the pumps in 2012, the agency has saved more than $1 million in energy costs at the South-Central Hillsborough Regional Wellfield. Since replacing the pumps and motors at the Cross Bar Wellfield in 2015, Tampa Bay Water has saved an average of $220,000 a year in energy costs. And in 2016, pumps and motors were replaced in the US 41 Pump Station, since saving the agency more than $100,000.