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Energy retrofits at Woodward Avenue Water Treatment Plant saves City of Hamilton $400,000 in electricity per year


The pumps, motors and switchgear at Hamilton’s Woodward Avenue High Lift Pumping Station were reaching the end of their life and needed to be replaced. Built in 1951, this is the City of Hamilton’s largest pumping station, and pumps more than 340 million litres of Lake Ontario water to over 500,000 people on a daily basis.

The load required to move the water is more than 10,000 horsepower with various sized pumps fed from two separate electrical feeds – 2.4kV to 13.8kV. The variation in pump sizes resulted in more costly maintenance and higher energy costs. 

By replacing the station’s old equipment with state-of-the-art technologies and taking advantage of the financial incentives available through the Electricity Retrofit Incentive Program delivered by Horizon Utilities, “We were able to install energy-efficient equipment that would reduce the station’s energy cost,” says Geoff Lupton, Hamilton’s Director of Energy, Fleet, Facilities and Traffic. 

“Controlling energy costs is critical to operating an efficient and reliable water treatment plant that provides safe, clean water,” he says. “We knew significant energy savings could be achieved.” 

Hamilton received over $2 million in incentive funding for installing energy-efficient pumps and variable frequency drives. The new system reduces the pumping station’s energy costs by 20 percent annually, representing $400,000 of the station’s current $2 million annual electrical cost. 

“This project sets a benchmark for the energy-efficiency opportunities available at the municipal level to react to pricing and peak demand,” says Brian Smith, Chief Conservation Officer for Horizon Utilities. Horizon is the local electric utility that assessed and evaluated the eligibility of the project for financial incentives available from the Electricity Retrofit Incentive Program.

Under the saveONenergy RETROFIT PROGRAM and saveONenergy PROCESS & SYSTEMS significant financial incentives are available to municipalities, businesses, industries and other sectors when they install new energy-efficient technologies in their buildings and facilities. Local electric utilities across Ontario deliver these incentive programs. 

To meet its energy-efficiency and water safety targets, the City’s engineering staff worked with Insyght Systems of Burlington whose analysis showed that the optimum solution was to replace the various-sized pumps with six identical pumps. Four of the pumps were connected to variable-frequency drives and the two remaining operate as single-speed pumps. The pumps would be constructed in a single-voltage, split electrical bus that allows half the station to be shut down for maintenance while the other half continues to operate. 

Since the new pumps are designed to operate at higher efficiencies across a wider range of flow rates and use variable-frequency drives, the new design will considerably reduce power consumption. The change in operational approach will allow the high lift pumps to run at a lower capacity during highercost, on-peak periods and at a higher capacity during lower-cost, off-peak periods. 

In addition, the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system now shows plant operators, in real time, how much electricity is being used at each pump. The system displays the cost of running each pump and the entire station. 

“The plant operators can now make decisions related to time-of-day use, based on real-time data, which includes electricity rates and other key information needed to monitor and control energy costs” says Tom Chessman, City of Hamilton’s Manager of the Office of Energy Initiatives, Public Works Department. 

The Woodward Avenue WTP pumping station project was the winner of “The 2011 Success Story of the Year” for Pumps & Systems magazine. 
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