I recently sat down with Jack Perkins, Director of Channel Development for Powerit Solutions®, to discuss ways the food and beverage industry can benefit from energy management technology. Stellar often partners with energy experts such as Powerit Solutions to provide clients with a full range of tools to increase energy efficiency.
Michael: As energy costs continue to rise, food processors are always looking for new and innovative ways to reduce electricity usage. How can Powerit Solutions help?
Jack: Spara DM™, our demand management system, connects with existing automation systems and uses sophisticated load prediction and control algorithms, plus built-in load-shedding intelligence and data from equipment and utility meters, to optimize the plant’s energy usage with minimal impact on production. The system saves manufacturers money by helping them avoid high peak rates and allowing them to participate in smart grid programs where those are available. Spara Hub™, our cloud-based platform, feeds real-time utility pricing into the system. The system’s Web-based interface allows ongoing monitoring and remote management. .
Michael: Refrigeration in food processing plants can account for up to 50 percent of the entire facility’s power usage. How does a product such as Spara help manage high usage equipment?
Jack: Spara controls large electrical loads throughout a facility—refrigeration as well as others—so you get maximum benefit with minimum disruption. The system can prioritize loads sequentially, by group, or by other factors, and it can manage load shedding to achieve both savings and productivity targets.
Michael: How do manufacturers maintain control over their production processes when loads are being controlled automatically?
Jack: Customers define the rules for managing their loads, and the system automatically controls usage based on those rules. It never breaks the rules. Plant managers can determine the actions the system takes based on how aggressively they want to curtail loads—they decide what they can give up for a given cost benefit.
Michael: So the technology controls energy usage, which helps plants save money in the long run. Are there other ways it can directly reduce energy costs?
Jack: Our product lets users take advantage of dynamic pricing. The system monitors the meters and receives pricing data from the local utility in real time, and then quickly adjusts power demand to take advantage of lower rates or minimize charges during rate spikes. It also lets plants participate in automated demand response programs, which pay them money for reducing electricity usage when they get a signal from their utility or system operator.
Michael: What role does your product play in sustainability?
Jack: As businesses cut their peak power use, the need to build new power plants is reduced. Cutting your peak power use through demand control and demand response initiatives reduces stress on the grid, which can eliminate the need to build new power plants. Plants that participate in demand response programs also help utilities integrate intermittent renewable power sources, like wind and solar.
If you’d like to learn more about energy management technology, contact Stellar at 904-260-2900 or visit Powerit Solutions.
About Powerit Solutions
Powerit Solutions is a Seattle-based international cleantech company that sets the demand management standard. Its Spara DM™ technology links industrial facilities with the smart grid so customers can effortlessly control energy use for savings and sustainability. Spara uses sophisticated algorithms, built-in load-shedding intelligence and data drawn from equipment, electricity meters and utility transmissions to optimize facility energy use – without compromising production or quality.