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CME launches new initiative to provide energy best practices for the general manufacturing sector

From Natural Resources Canada’s Heads Up CIPEC Newsletter

Paul Clipsham, Director of Policy & Programs at the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, says that the new Energy Pathfinder Initiative aims to identify low or no cost energy saving opportunities that will help companies in the Ontario manufacturing sector to stay competitive. “The intent of the Initiative is to identify energy saving opportunities, develop best practices and optimize end-use operations in the sector,” adds Michael Kelly, Co-Chair of CIPEC General Manufacturing Task Force and Process Engineer and Energy Manager at KI Pembroke.

The initiative was conceived by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) in Partnership with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) – who also supplied financial support, and other stakeholders. Clipsham notes that the initiative is a modification of a successful model run by the Nova Scotia division of CME. The initiative, to be completed by spring 2016, is being carried out by ICF International, an environmental project consulting company.

“The initiative stems from the need for small- to medium-sized manufacturing enterprises to take advantage of energy efficiency opportunities without significant capital or human resources,” notes Kelly. These businesses require low-capital strategies that yield savings through the performance optimization of existing equipment, electricity peak reduction and load shifting, and the mitigation of waste energy drivers.

Clipsham explains that in order to assess the opportunity of process energy management, the project will explore, define and quantify a sample of opportunities (‘deep dives’) in actual facilities and develop best practices to improve, control or optimize energy intensive processes in five strategically selected industry segments at the rate of one facility per segment within the Ontario industrial and manufacturing sector.

The targeted segments are:

  • Plastics moulding and extruding
  • Baking and tortilla manufacturing
  • Metal machining (transportation and other machinery)
  • Metal fabricating
  • Meat products manufacturing

“How industrial processes are integrated to compound energy inefficiencies is relatively uncharted territory,” says Clipsham, noting that once energy drivers are identified, as is intended with the ‘deep dives’, then positive changes can be made.

From the five initial sites, a best practice scorecard will be developed to be used to benchmark four additional sites per target sub-sector via an onsite process energy audit. The benchmarking will determine to what extent the best practices are already in place and/or the potential for implementing them. The scorecards will be used to identify levels of adoption and technical potential by end-use. A report will be generated that summarizes findings, including energy initiatives implemented and associated savings at the five ‘deep dive’ sites.

Kelly is thrilled about getting more tools that will help the manufacturing sector address challenges in pursuing energy savings, project planning and implementation. “Resource allocation is one of the biggest issues for our sector and I see this initiative as a gap analysis that will take resource-stretched businesses to the next level in energy efficiency,” he notes. Clipsham agrees, adding that “we hope to identify numerous best practices that are repeatable in different manufacturing settings and that represent significant wins in energy costs and management.

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