Energy accounts for a significant portion of overall manufacturing costs. With today's volatile energy prices, HPI and other manufacturers have to keep a close eye on where they get their energy and how much energy they use. An ongoing ARC survey indicates that many owner-operators already have strong energy-management initiatives in place and employ automation and control technologies to monitor and optimize plant energy use. However, some respondents indicated that they have limited visibility into energy-management metrics, and many do not measure and control energy usage in real time, leading to missed opportunities to reduce energy costs.
Energy is often the largest component of an HPI or other manufacturer's cost structure. According to the EIA Annual Energy Outlook for 2010, energy prices will increase substantially over the next couple of decades, and efficiency alone will not be enough to stem manufacturers' rising energy costs. Plant operators will have to do more to realize additional savings, including realigning their energy-management practices to optimize energy use and costs in a climate of expensive energy.