Energy Managers make all the difference

Recently, Natural Resources Canada released a report highlighting the success that embedded Energy Managers had on the Resource Sector (Mining and Gas).  These Energy Managers were able to make a significant impact on the businesses they were part of in a short period of time.

Below is a summary of the article and the successes that have been realized through the hiring of energy managers across British Columbia.

A study conducted a few years ago by BC Hydro – the Conservation Potential Review – found that the mining sector could achieve energy savings of up to 400 gigawatt hours annually. Steve Quon, Mining, Oil & Gas Sector Manager at BC Hydro’s Power Smart, says that as a result of the study, Power Smart partnered with the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC) to look for key areas to target for energy savings. The subsequent hiring of energy managers at seven mine sites across the province was a major step in realizing those energy savings.

“Energy managers are a good story for everyone,” says Quon, noting that by having an energy manager on staff, continuous improvement is possible, and sustainability and energy efficiency become part of normal business practices. This increases operational efficiency, which is essential to the mining sector because it is British Columbia’s second largest electrical customer.

Quon explains that BC Hydro, in conjunction with the MABC, also conducted an all-fuels baseline audit, which was piloted at Walter Energy™-Western Coal’s Wolverine mine and Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc.’s Endako mines. The all-fuels baseline audit provides a detailed snapshot of energy use and waste at a mine site. It can be used yearly to compare trends in energy consumption and efficiency over time; and it can be used to compare mine sites. The audit is also a natural complement to the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining strategy.

“All of these initiatives align very well, but in order to fully implement them, a dedicated person – an energy manager – is needed,” notes Quon. Several mining companies had the information needed to move ahead but lacked the champion to make projects happen. Consequently, Power Smart offered to provide significant funding for hiring industrial energy managers to remove any financial and human resource barriers.

This allowed the following mines to hire energy managers: Highland Valley Copper mine, Thompson Creek Endako mine, Copper Mountain Mining Corporation mines, Agfa’s New Gold mine, Teck’s coal mine and Walter Energy-Western Coal’s Wolverine mine.

Most of the energy managers were hired in 2011, and although it is difficult to attribute energy savings directly to their presence, Quon says that the link is surely there. “What is equally important is that energy managers can make the business case for energy efficiency projects and ensure that energy efficiency is built into every project,” concludes Quon.

Visit BC Hydro Power Smart’s Web site for energy efficiency programs for the mining sector, including its offer for energy managers.

Thanks for reading.

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Energent at Globe2012 – Shifting Focus from “If” to “Now”

Energent just returned from a very successful and enlightening week at the Globe2012 conference in Vancouver, BC.  Aside from attending very compelling presentations by global leaders in sustainability, meeting visionaries from within organizations dedicated to changing the way their business operates, we noticed a decided shift from talk to action.  No longer are the conversations blue sky and what-ifs; they are about concrete actions and achieved results.

In our environment, those that are interested in energy management of commercial, institutional, and industrial building are pushing their current systems to keep up to the demand of an engaged and enthusiastic energy manager.  The are asking questions like:

What if my energy monitoring system could build in best-case scenarios and I could build business cases directly from the reporting tool?

They are pushing their monitoring systems by saying:

I need my energy monitoring system to help me manage energy in every part of my business, and experts to help me use this tool.

Ultimately, we have found that an Energy Management system is very similar to a gym membership.  If you buy an Energy Management system and just look at it, you aren’t going to be very successful at managing energy.  If you buy a gym membership to lose weight and you just keep the card in your wallet, you aren’t going to be very successful at losing weight or getting healthier.

Energy Management is a participation sport.  We are going to focus on that in our next few posts because Energy Managers have been lied to for the past 5+ years.  We want to set the record straight…and based on the presentations at Globe2012, software providers are going to be pushed to provide more than data.  We need to start taking that data and turning into information, and from that information, use people combined with the software tools, to create knowledge.  Knowledge will enable a true revolution in energy management.

Stay tuned as we teach all energy managers about turning mountains of data into usable knowledge that will enable great decisions.

Thanks to the presenters and attendees at Globe2012 for focusing the conversation from “If” to “Now”.  Amazing.

Don’t forget that Energent is hosting its newest webinar or Greenhouse Gas reporting requirments for public builings Thursday, March 22 at 2pm EST  Click here to register.