Collecting, cleaning and moving water takes a lot of energy—quite literally. North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) normally uses around 350-400 million kilowatts each year (mostly between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.) to provide clean water to your tap and make sure the water going down drains is treated properly. That’s enough electricity to power around 28,000 homes.
“Power is actually one of the largest costs for water system operators,” according to NTMWD energy manager Scott Puckett. To keep energy costs consistent and as low as possible, Puckett recently shared how the District is constantly seeking ways to secure low-cost, reliable energy to support our operations and environment. And “green” or renewable energy is part of the solution.
The District signed an agreement with Direct Energy Business to purchase power produced at a new solar energy plant being built in the Laredo area. The power from this plant alone is projected to meet 35-40% of NTMWD’s future energy needs and is projected to save the District about $14 million over the next 15 years versus traditional wholesale power purchases.
“The intent is that this new solar project will supply a lot of our future energy needs,” Puckett explained. “And because of our unique agreement with Direct Energy, NTMWD does not assume any of the risk typically associated with these kinds of energy construction projects.”
Read the full release.
In addition to our solar energy transaction, the District has worked to control costs and reduce operating costs through our 4CP program, which stands for the 4 Coincident Peaks (4CP) intervals during the months of June, July, August and September. The 4CP program gives NTMWD the opportunity to voluntarily reduce energy consumption each weekday afternoon during those summer months of highest energy use. NTMWD does this by decreasing its pumping loads within our water system, temporarily, in the afternoons to help lower our demand needs from the utility. NTMWD has:
- Participated for 15 years
- Saved approximately $3M in 2019
One of the District’s major wastewater treatment plants and its lift stations are also part of an emergency response program. In the case of an emergency, we have agreed to switch from the local power supply onto backup generators, pulling NTMWD facilities off the power grid and helping our supplier avoid blackouts. NTMWD has:
- Participated in this program since 2016
- Generates annual revenues of around $50-60 thousand.
Learn more on how NTMWD continues to find innovative ways to keep costs consistent and low.