May 2, 2013
By Jared Anderson AOL
However, while financing often remains a challenge, considerable long-term economic and energy savings can be wrung from upgrading municipal water supply and treatment systems, according to Colin Sabol, Chief Strategy & Growth Officer at water technology company Xylem Inc.
Sabol recently told AOL Energy that 50% to 75% of the total capital costs at public utilities go to supplying energy for water supply and treatment. At the same time, the
Additionally, water and wastewater utilities are typically the largest consumers of energy in municipalities, often accounting for 30-40% of total energy consumed, according to EPA estimates.
"There is a terrific economic return – IRR [internal rate of return] – but a utility has to take out a bond or increase tariffs, which is difficult," said Sabol. The payback period is often three years, which can be challenging for a public utility to finance, so he spends a lot of time raising awareness among utilities and local politicians. "It's an industry that's been underinvested."