Mike Byrnes, chief operating officer of Veolia North America, discusses how to improve energy efficiency and resiliency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and access new revenue streams at water and wastewater treatment facilities.
Reliable and cost effective energy supply and usage is a significant economic driver for local governments and their water and wastewater utilities. According to estimates from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the energy consumed by utilities in treating water and wastewater makes up about 35 percent of municipal energy budgets. Many of these treatment plants were built decades ago, and there are a number of opportunities to improve energy efficiency at many of them by installing newer equipment and implementing better operating procedures.
At the company where I work, Veolia North America, we place great emphasis on best practice energy management at the plants we operate. We are constantly keeping an eye toward managing the cost of operating a wastewater plant — including finding efficiencies in procuring or generating energy for the facilities.