Developing ESCO procedures for large telecommunication facilities using novel simulation techniques
Van Rensburg, Johann Francois
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Peak electricity demand in South Africa will exceed the available operational generation capacity in 2007. The state utility Eskom is addressing this challenge, inter aha, with the implementation of the Demand-side Management (DSM) initiative. The aim of DSM is to defer the building of additional power stations by modifying the end-user pattern to reduce electrical load during the morning and evening peaks. At the end of 2005 the DSM programme has only achieved 30°/o of its target. Some of the biggest problems are the lack of knowledge on how to perform ESCO audits and availability of tools and procedures to enable Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) to evaluate DSM potential. Studies in South Africa have shown that 20°/o of the total municipal energy is utilised in commercial buildings. Additional investigations have shown that in the commercial sector approximately 50% of energy is used for air conditioning. Energy savings of around 30% can be realised through improved management procedures and retrofit projects of HVAC systems of existing buildings. Telecommunication companies own and operate a large portfolio of diverse buildings. It was shown that these buildings are very inefficient in terms of energy usage. Performing ESCO analyses on these building portfolios present huge savings opportunities for the building owners as well as load reduction opportunities to help meet DSM targets. ESCOs however face major problems in evaluating DSM projects on telecommunication facilities. Some of these problems are: time to perform the ESCO audits on such a large portfolio of buildings; skill levels of available personnel; lack of experience and structured audit process; availability of information; data capturing of information; determining the impact of the retrofits and calculating the savings and financial benefits of retrofits. Obtaining approval for DSM projects is also a lengthy process. Smaller ESCOs cannot afford to commit resources to ESCO investigations only to recover their investment after project approval. Having an ESCO procedure that will speed up the audit process will help the ESCO to minimise resources that need to be committed to these investigations. Having a tested and reliable ESCO procedure will also help Eskom since they will receive more and better quality DSM proposals. A new ESCO procedure for telecommunications facilities was developed. The primary requirements for the new ESCO procedure are that it should be simple, stable, fast and accurate. This procedure is evaluated against the known energy management opportunities in telecommunication facilities. Some of the benefits of the new ESCO procedure are: time taken to perform ESCO analysis on all types of buildings is drastically reduced; lower qualified personnel can be used to perform the ESCO analysis; any type of HVAC system configuration can be accommodated; new data capturing procedures ensure that only essential data is captured; integrated simulation software is used that can easy and accurately simulate the building operations and retrofits on a building; retrofit options suitable for telecommunication facilities are identified; contribution to the DSM programme is evaluated; financial evaluation of the retrofits and feasibility for DSM funding and results are integrated into a standardised reporting format. The new ESCO procedure was implemented on several case studies within the telecommunication infrastructure. Five different types of buildings were selected to implement the ESCO procedure. Each step of the procedure was evaluated and tested against the requirements of the new ESCO procedure. It was proven through implementation that the new ESCO procedure is successful in solving the unique problems in performing ESCO analyses for telecommunications facilities. Valuable insight into the problems that can occur during the ESCO process was highlighted, and recommendation for future work was presented.
- Engineering