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The 10th level of electric power supply

Photo of a high-voltage pole

photo: freepik.com, by: evening_tao

Efficient energy management and utility efficiency are issues that have been a priority for Warsaw University of Technology for many years. We take a number of measures to keep the costs associated with the maintenance and operation of facilities as low as possible, contributing to the University's stable financial situation.

Even before the significant increase in electricity prices, the University of Technology concluded two contracts - for the transmission of energy for 2021-2024 and its purchase in 2022-2023. Thanks to the guaranteed price, the costs incurred by the University during this period are fixed.

There is a level 10 power supply at WUT, which in practice means that there are no restrictions on the supply and consumption of electricity. We can draw power up to the amount specified in the contract.

Active in reactive power

An effective way to reduce electricity bills is the so-called reactive power compensation, which pulses between the energy source and the consumer, such as a transformer or motor. - 'We have carried out an analysis of the quality of electricity consumption in terms of optimising reactive power consumption in our facilities,' says Andrzej Banasiak, chief electricity specialist. - Reactive energy, although not converted into work, is necessary for equipment to function. When it is drawn in excess, it lowers the parameters of transmission networks and operators introduce additional charges. Compensating for reactive, capacitive and inductive power not only saves money, but also extends the life of cables and other components of the power supply network, he explains.

The solution, therefore, is to install equipment that generates reactive power in the main switchboards in the individual WUT buildings. This eliminates the need to transport it through the power grid. Such devices are capacitor banks and inductive reactors.

- In 2020, we selected energy consumption points for the installation of reactive power compensation systems. They were installed, among others, in the 'Mikrus' and 'Riviera' halls of residence, in the buildings of the faculties of Architecture, Chemical Engineering and Printing Technologies, and the Physical Education and Sports Centre building. In December 2022, we had them installed in the WUT Branch in Płock and the "Wcześniak" hall of residence," says Andrzej Banasiak. - The annual savings amount to around PLN 130,000," he adds.

Another reduction in costs was brought about by a change in the contractual power (i.e. the power specified in the contract for electricity) for selected power supply points, e.g. at the "Mikrus" hall of residence, the Institute of Printing Technologies and the CEZAMAT Centre for Advanced Materials and Technologies. Annual savings amount to PLN 125,000.

An action that also brought financial benefits was the change of tariff group for selected energy consumption points.

Power guard

- In order to be able to monitor individual facilities in terms of energy consumption, maximum power or reactive power compensation, we want to create a power grid monitoring system for the Warsaw University of Technology, says Andrzej Banasiak.

Thanks to the installation of analysers and the replacement of electricity meters, it will be possible, among other things, to record and visualise billing measurement data, tariff analyses and power demand. This will help to save money as well as to react quickly.

The design of the system is to be carried out by a team from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the Warsaw University of Technology under the direction of Prof. Ryszard Kowalik. The realisation of the system is planned to be out to tender in 2023.

Safe, but economical

In order to optimise electricity costs at the Warsaw University of Technology, we have extinguished the external lighting of the Main Building, as well as every second park luminaire on the central campus.

- The illumination of the Main Building is only for visual purposes, it does not affect safety considerations, similarly for the lamps on the main campus - the illumination of every second one is sufficient," notes Andrzej Banasiak.

From macro to micro

Everyone can contribute to savings. The principles and guidelines contained in the Programme for Effective Energy Management and Utility Efficiency, published in December 2022 make it easier for the faculties and units of the University, as well as our employees.