Metering exposes lost energy at Talley’s
A new metering system installed at three Talley’s energy intensive sites initially saved $25,000 a year – part of an energy management programme that has sliced around $500,000 annually from the food exporter’s $8 million energy bill.
New meters allow Talley’s to spot wasted energy and deal to it.
“A business that monitors its energy will save 10% more energy than a business that doesn’t,” said Emsol Managing Director Erin Roughton, who advised Talley’s on its national energy management plan. An assessment into Talley’s energy use at three sites began in 2014.
Talley’s operates multiple sites countrywide that handle frozen seafood, French fries, ice cream and vegetables and there were significant financial and environmental gains to be had when it came to tracking down wasted or inefficient use of energy.
But it was a complex challenge as Talley’s uses combinations of electricity, coal diesel, and light fuel oil as fuel sources to process heat for its sites. Such diversity would require a metering system that could measure all these energy sources on a daily basis.
Matching the right type of energy monitoring system with the business’s unique operational demands was crucial for comprehensive energy performance tracking.
EECA Business has approved partners that provide assessment, monitoring, planning and implementation of energy efficiency programmes. Talley’s chief electrician, Peter Jensen, was quickly able to view the range of monitoring systems on offer and select the one that would best suit Talley’s.
Data from new-tech meters show how energy is used by the business. This allows companies change the way they operate on the hoof, allowing continual, and often unforeseen, energy savings.
Peter said that was one of the most attractive aspects of the metering project. He also knew it would give it greater longevity.
Peter could select either an energy-monitoring license from a bureau that reports online energy efficiency or a stand-alone energy reporting system that Talley’s would manage.
He chose a stand-alone Schneider meter system because of its basic, built-in reporting functionality. A crucial factor was its Modbus protocol that has the flexibility to accommodate a range of meter types and its reporting capability could be expanded to make it more versatile later in the programme.
One hundred meters were installed in three Talley’s sites with the highest energy (collectively 115 GWh a year).
Within two weeks, energy data monitoring highlighted a problem - savings that were not being met in a compressed air energy saving project. A site engineer soon discovered a valve was left open after hours, which lost significant air. Ensuring the valve is closed is now saving $1,800 per month.
Within six months, three incidents were picked up where energy wastage occurred that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. Similarly, a lighting upgrade installed LEDs in more efficient locations in a cold store. The original lights were left in place and switched off. However when a new operator started, they switched the old inefficient lights on as well as the LED lights. Reviewing energy metering each month soon identified the problem and the original lights were disconnected.
The new metering system cost $65,000 and some automated dashboard reporting has since been developed. Energy savings, where energy monitoring was the main, were $25,000 in the initial year.
While investing in a metering service is a smart way to make long-term savings in fuel and finances, the initial outlay can sometimes be off-putting. Those costs, however, are often quickly recouped by on-going efficiencies. Not only that, EECA Business can assist with the start-up costs. Talley’s energy management plan had 40% of the funding covered by EECA Business.
“By helping large-energy using businesses like Talley’s reduce carbon emissions and electricity use, we create environmental and economic benefits for the whole country,” said EECA Business General Manager Greg Visser.