by Raymond Arp – Electrical Engineer
On a cool Friday afternoon in October, Regional Management from Idaho Power in Twin Falls presented a “publisher clearing house” size symbolic check to the Operations Department at the Mini-Cassia Factory for the amount of $230,732.62. This equates to 1,306,924 kWh of power savings every year. To put this into perspective, this saved energy is enough to power 110 homes for a year.
Why is Idaho Power giving money to Amalgamated Sugar? Idaho Power provides incentives in the form of a rebate to help industrial and other large customers improve the efficiency of their electricity use. These programs help Idaho Power achieve their energy-saving goals while helping Amalgamated Sugar adopt best practice programs to help reduce the total energy consumption through improved efficiency. Idaho Power has a good relation and trust in allowing Amalgamated Sugar to self-direction programs to use a portion of their own energy efficiency program fees to fund on-site energy efficiency projects. The Amalgamated Sugar self-direct program requires that the Idaho Power administrator approve the energy efficiency projects in advance, and then requires verification of the energy savings after projects have been completed.
The symbolic check represents the rebate sum of two energy efficiency projects completed in 2020 at Mini-Cassia. The first was installing Variable Frequency Drives, versus across the line 2-speed starters, which was the standard for many years, on five white centrifuges upgraded from G8’s to the newer G16’s. The second was installing a Variable Frequency Drive to regulate the new 400# Rentech Gas Fired Boiler FD Fan, as opposed to inlet vain damper control.
This is the first time this format of receiving a rebate has occurred. Typically, in the past, the regular hand size checks were just given to the factory without recognition. In fact, this is the 38th project, from all four facilities, since Amalgamated Sugar started this program with Idaho Power in 2006 with ID Fans on VFD’s in Twin Falls. These projects have totaled over $1.6 million to the company. They are both for pump/fan savings with a VFD to area lighting which utilizes the best available LED lights determined by Lumens/Watt rating. The largest energy savings was for over 1 Million KWH’s for a savings of $147,214 at Mini-Cassia for the Putsch Filter Air Compressors. In fact, there are currently 2 more energy projects in the queue, one at Twin Falls and one at Mini-Cassia. Amalgamated Sugar has shown steady progress in improving energy efficiency over the past few years and more improvements are expected.
From the Idaho Power website, “The Idaho Power energy efficiency program is funded through the energy efficiency rider collected monthly from Idaho Power customers. Incentives cover retrofits, new construction and major renovation projects, and custom incentives for cost-effective projects not covered on the menu of incentives. In addition, they provide technical training and energy assessments of customer’s facilities. Custom incentives of $0.18 per kilowatt-hours (kWh), up to 70% of the project cost are paid based on the first-year energy (kWh) savings.” The Idaho Power energy efficiency program process is somewhat easy but rather time-consuming.