Self-Funding Energy Efficiency Projects in Water Infrastructure
AbstractWater utilities today need to reinvigorate aging infrastructure, finance capital improvements, and reduce energy use. Self-funding-using internal funds to invest in capital projects that save energy, and then pay back the investment with the savings-is a strategy that hits all three needs. An ideal self-funded project is one where other funding is insufficient, an internal loan is available, the project is permanent, and savings are ongoing. An example is discussed. Concepts Water professionals have identified aging infrastructure and capital financing as two of the top three challenges facing the water industry (AWWA 2023). At the same time, water utilities are motivated to reduce their energy use, whether to save money, meet climate goals, or adjust to an evolving electricity market (Sowby et al. 2023; Patel et al. 2022). But investing in energy-efficiency projects can be expensive, even if the payback is obvious.