OWASA’s plan to continue reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions

The OWASA Board of Directors recently adopted the utility’s first energy management plan. The plan supports OWASA’s commitment to comprehensively reduce its use of energy and increase use of renewable energy sources and specifically identifies strategies and next steps to:

  • Reduce use of purchased electricity and natural gas,
  • Generate energy from the biogas created in the biological breakdown of wastewater solids at the Mason Farm Wastewater Treatment Plant, and
  • Explore partnerships with the private sector to develop a large-scale solar PV farm.

The energy projects are designed to pay for themselves through annual cost savings over the life of a given project. In evaluating energy projects, OWASA considers the federally-defined social cost of carbon as a factor.

Mary Tiger, Sustainability Manager, said “Effective energy management is a critical opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint, increase efficiency, cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce expenses, and enhance our resilience and reliability as a utility. We invite everyone who is interested to read our plan and welcome all comments and questions.”

Since 2010, OWASA has reduced its electricity use by 27%, primarily due to:

  • An $8.4 million investment in energy efficient blowers, mixers, and fine bubble diffused aeration system at the Mason Farm Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).
  • The community’s continuing achievements in water conservation, including the University of North Carolina’s use of reclaimed water in facility cooling, irrigation, and toilet flushing.
  • The installation of more efficient water pumping systems

OWASA’s commitment to energy management is ongoing and inclusive. This week, staff from across the organization (including plant operators, maintenance technicians, plant operators, engineers, and others) are participating in an In-Plant Training on energy management conducted by Cascade Energy and WasteWater Technology Trainings and sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Program. OWASA is a partner in the Better Buildings, Better Plants Program. (For pictures from the training, please visit OWASA’s Twitter page @OWASA1)

For more information:

Anyone who wishes to receive OWASA’s electronic notices about energy management is invited to sign up by going to https://tinyurl.com/l9z7d8j and selecting energy management.