News > Energy Saving Technology Makes a Splash in the San Diego Harbor

Energy Saving Technology Makes a Splash in the San Diego Harbor


Energy Saving Technology Makes a Splash in the San Diego Harbor

May 24, 2023

The San Diego harbor is taking the plunge into a unique approach to energy efficiency. Recognizing the significant energy demands of temporary, portable, and leased equipment utilized in the shipyard industry, a port pilot program was launched in the fall of 2021. This program was designed to support California’s initiatives to reduce carbon emissions.  

This program targets a sector that is not typically eligible for energy incentives. With a dedicated team of Cascade Energy coaches and engineers providing guidance, each site explored potential energy savings through two methods – Specialized Measures and Emerging Technology Demonstrations. Both methods resulted in marked savings and provided valuable insights into energy saving technology and techniques furthering the decarbonization of the California coastline.  


Specialized Measures 

The program began with a “Treasure Hunt” at each location, where Cascade’s energy efficiency experts worked with environmental engineers to identify low or no-cost opportunities to reduce energy use. After assessing these opportunities, the sites indicated which measures they wanted to pursue. Cascade helped participants build customized project implementation plans, gathering data on selected measures to establish appropriate baselines and refine savings estimates. 

Cascades technical energy coaches supported the participants with each Specialized Measure, helping them overcome barriers to project completion. Once the measures were implemented, Cascade assisted with final savings determinations and the receipt of appropriate incentives. 


Emerging Technology Demonstrations 

Next, it was time to provide an opportunity to test industry innovations on a small scale and gain understanding of the cost/benefit analysis. Five demonstrations of new energy saving technology were conducted, with four presenting clear savings opportunities. The successful demonstrations included: 

  • Venturi blast nozzles 
  • Oxy-fuel cutting torches 
  • Manual hydroblasting 
  • Robotic hydroblasting 

Hydroblasting presented immense savings opportunities that thrilled participants. Another exciting discovery was the efficiency of the blast nozzle. Despite the cost per unit remaining comparable to current nozzles, the Venturi blast nozzles proved exponentially more efficient. A diagnostic inspection by one of Cascade’s engineers credited these remarkable energy savings to the nozzle’s unique interior geometry.  

Overall, the participating sites were excited to explore new technologies and generally enthusiastic about providing the opportunity for testing and verification. The data Cascade provided through Emerging Technology Demonstrations was very positively received. 


Lessons Learned 

The exploration of innovative techniques and energy saving technologies resulted in several key discoveries and insights:  

  • Debuting emerging technology from an energy savings perspective facilitates an important aspect of evaluation when considering equipment investment. 
  • Long equipment lead-times resulting from the pandemic speak to the necessity for adequate time for project completion. A longer horizon, such as SMART Industrials’ 4-year design, will give the needed time to realize the full extent of savings opportunities.  
  • Hiring contractors with an energy efficiency focus decreases roadblocks to implementing performance standards and efficiency modifications.  
  • Staging the compressors will maximize the usefulness of a VFD. 

Additionally, Cascade Energy Program Manager, Pam Birkel, shared this promising insight: “Though this engagement was purposefully designed to last less than a year, there is immense potential for TPL energy savings at Port Tenant (and especially shipbuilding) sites in this region. This Pilot scratched the surface of that potential.” 

Share this post: