Energy losses may be systemic or local. You typically get the biggest bang for your buck by addressing systemic issues first.
Examples of systemic losses include:
- Feeder power quality issues such as voltage imbalance, lower power factor, excess harmonic content, or waveform distortion.
Solution: Monitor power quality at the service and on feeders; make sure someone is monitoring the monitor.
- Feeder wiring problems, such as leaking insulation or poor terminations.
Solution: Conduct all of the applicable testing on cable insulation and terminations. These typically include ultrasound, infrared, insulation resistance, hi-potential, and (depending on the voltage level) partial discharge testing.
- High ambient temperatures, which cause equipment to run less efficiently.
Solution: Create a ducting and ventilation system (or radically upgrade the one you have), using a thermal map so you are removing the highest concentration of heat. This often is a local issue that generates systemic problems.
Examples of local losses include:
- Lubrication issues, such as a gearbox that is improperly maintained or a motor that is improperly greased.
Solution: Assign lubrication to only fully trained lubrication technicians, and set up a lubrication system that uses tools such as color coding to prevent “simple” mistakes.
- Excess vibration, especially of motors.
Solution: Install vibration monitoring. And rather than guess at corrective measures, conduct an engineering analysis to determine what will work on the first try.
- High-resistance terminations, which convert electrical energy into waste heat. The cause of these is nearly always poor workmanship.
Solution: Set up a torque tool program, train the users on the fundamentals of fasteners (never over-tighten, don’t re-use, etc.), and use a thermography program to efficiently spot suspect (heat-emanating) connections.