NRWA’s Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance Program is designed to promote energy efficient practices in small water and wastewater systems. Funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service, the program performs energy assessments, recommends energy-efficient practices and technologies, and provides support in achieving recommendations. Technical support includes assisting with presentations to governing boards, accessing financing, training, and developing documentation.
The Energy Efficiency Program
The Energy Efficiency Program began July 1, 2014 as a pilot program with State Rural Water Associations implementing the program in six states. Since then the program has expanded to 13 states and a total of 1,104 energy efficiency assessments have been conducted. The assessments have identified over $10,484,009 in annual cost savings to rural and small community water and wastewater utility systems. Based on past history, 63% of the systems undergoing assessments will implement or develop an action plan to implement energy efficiency options. The average projected savings for systems is $20,778 annually. The assessments are conducted by staff from State Rural Water Associations with training in energy auditing and experience in delivering training and technical assistance to utilities. A variety of energy assessment tools and techniques are used to evaluate potential cost savings resulting from energy efficiency improvements.
Because energy is one of the largest costs for utilities, the program is expected to have substantial impact on operating costs, financial sustainability, and product affordability. The program will set a goal of at least 15% improvement in energy efficiency and will prioritize assessments toward utilities that serve populations living in poverty. Over the next year, NRWA expects this project to produce energy efficiency optimization recommendations for 600 utility systems, documenting a minimum energy expense savings of $7,851,000 annually.