2024 ComEd Compressed Air Energy Incentives

Jan 21, 2024 by Brad Taylor

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Northern Illinois manufacturers can save thousands of dollars in energy bills by improving the efficiency of their compressed air systems. Thanks to compressed air energy incentive programs from ComEd, optimizing your compressed air system may cost little or nothing. Small businesses with peak demand of up to 400kW per month may qualify for additional prescriptive incentives under the ComEd Small Business program, now applies to companies. 

ComEd offers several energy incentives and incentive programs for manufacturing customers in Northern Illinois. These programs pay for leak detection and repair and provide incentives for Variable Speed Drive (VSD) compressors and other energy-saving upgrades to your compressed air system. These programs include both Standard Energy Incentive Programs and Industrial Systems Programs for compressed air systems for 25 HP and above. 

Standard Energy Incentive Programs

  • Small Business Energy Incentives (for businesses with peak demand <400kW);
  • Standard Prescriptive Incentives (for businesses of any size);
  • Custom Energy Incentives (a per-kWh incentive for projects outside the scope of the prescriptive incentive programs).

Industrial Systems Programs

  • Fix-It-Now (for leak repair and other well-defined repairs and system upgrades);
  • Comprehensive Program (includes an energy audit, recommended upgrades or repairs based on that audit, and system verification; provides a per-kWh incentive for energy saving improvements).

How Do Energy Incentives Work?

ComEd, like many energy suppliers, provides incentives to help large energy users reduce their consumption. Why would your energy company want you to use less energy? For a couple of reasons:

  1. Energy companies get incentives from the government to reduce their carbon footprint, which means reducing the amount of energy their customers consume.
  2. Energy companies want to reduce the overall load on the power grid. By helping their customers be more energy-efficient, energy companies can forestall expensive infrastructure upgrades, reduce the risk of outages, and better regulate supply and demand.
  3. Manufacturers and other large energy users provide the greatest opportunity for energy companies like ComEd to reduce the overall load on the power grid and avoid big swings in energy demand. For many manufacturers, the compressed air system represents a large share of their overall energy consumption. Inefficiencies in compressed air systems can add thousands of dollars to the average manufacturer’s energy bill and add to the strain on the power grid.

That’s why ComEd and other power companies target incentives and incentive programs specifically to compressed air users. If you are a ComEd customer, you have already paid for the energy incentive program as part of your electricity bill. You’ll find the program under the “Taxes and Fees” section of your energy bill. And since you’ve already paid for it, you might as well use it!

Prescriptive and custom energy incentive programs from ComEd can help companies offset the cost of energy-saving improvements to their compressed air systems; in some cases, these incentives may cover the majority of the cost. Generally, these programs will cover the cost of new equipment only.

Standard Energy Incentive Programs

Standard Energy Incentive Programs from ComEd include standard prescriptive incentives as well as custom programs for energy improvements that do not fall under the standard programs. Small businesses (with peak demand under 400 kW) qualify for special incentive programs that are often more generous than those offered to other business customers. Both standard and custom incentive programs may require pre-approval prior to the purchase and installation of new equipment. 

ComEd Small Business Energy Incentive Program

The ComEd Small Business Program covers manufacturers with up to 400 kW peak demand. This is exciting news, because the Small Business program supplies larger incentives than those available under the standard prescriptive program. 

This ComEd Small Business Program has incentives to help manufacturers make a variety of energy-saving upgrades to their systems, including but not limited to upgrades to their compressed air systems.

Under this program, ComEd will provide:

  • A free energy assessment of your facility (through an authorized service provider like Fluid-Aire Dynamics); 
  • A detailed report with recommendations for energy efficiency projects;
  • Instant incentives for the purchase and installation of recommended efficiency upgrades.

Prescriptive Incentive Limits for the ComEd Small Business Program 

ComEd offers generous incentives in the Small Business Program for compressed air, including $400/HP for a Variable Speed Drive (VSD) Rotary Screw Compressor to replace an existing fixed speed rotary screw air compressor. In many cases, this will pay for more than 75% of the capital cost of a new VSD air compressor. 

Switching from a fixed-speed air compressor to a VSD air compressor could save up to 70% on energy consumption for compressed air. Read more: Why Choose or Upgrade to a Variable Speed Drive Air Compressor?

ComEd also offers prescriptive incentives for other types of system improvements under the Small Business Program.

Offer Small Business Rebate
VSD air compressor (to replace existing fixed speed) $400/HP
Zero-loss condensate drain $600/Drain
High-efficiency air nozzle $75/Nozzle
High-efficiency cycling air dryer (to replace non-cycling dryer) $10/CFM
Added compressor storage $150/HP
Compressed air pressure reduction $75/compressor
Compressed air leak repair $50/HP

 

How to Get Started with ComEd Small Business Energy Incentives

  • Getting started with Small Business Energy Incentives through ComEd is easy. Check your energy bill from ComEd: It should list your peak demand at the top of the bill. If your peak demand is less than or equal to 400 kW, you qualify for the Small Business Program. (Customers with peak demand >400 kW may still qualify for other programs below);
  • Contact an authorized service provider for the ComEd Small Business Program: Fluid-Aire Dynamics works with Duralec as our underwriter for the Small Business Program;   
  • Complete an energy study and get your project pre-approved: Both standard and custom incentive programs will require pre-approval prior to the purchase and installation of new equipment; 
  • Get your energy upgrades completed by your authorized service provider: When you fill out your paperwork, you can designate your compressed air vendor as the recipient of the incentive. Then, your vendor will bill you for only the cost of the equipment above and beyond what the incentive program covers. 

Standard Energy Incentive Programs from ComEd 

Peak demand over 400 kW? Don’t worry – ComEd Energy offers energy incentives for larger companies, too. Standard Prescriptive incentive Programs offer a defined incentive for the purchase of energy-saving upgrades for your compressed air systems, including VSD air compressors, zero-loss condensate drains, and more. These programs are open to all non-residential customers, regardless of size. 

Variable Speed Drive (VSD) Prescriptive Incentive Programs

The ComEd Standard Incentive Program covers several different kinds of energy upgrades for industrial compressed air systems, but upgrading to VSD delivers the highest payoff. VSD air compressors save energy by controlling the frequency supplied to the drive motor on the air compressor in response to real-time demand on the system. When demand is low, the motor will run at a reduced speed, requiring less energy to operate. When demand for compressed air is higher, the VSD will automatically increase the frequency of the air compressor motor to meet CFM demand. An average-size manufacturer may see $15K-20K in annual energy savings when upgrading from a fixed-speed rotary screw compressor to a VSD compressor.

The ComEd standard prescriptive incentive program covers $200 per HP for new air compressors with integrated VSD (up to 200 HP) when replacing an existing fixed-speed rotary screw compressor or installing a new one for a new facility or expansion. 

VSD air compressors larger than 200 HP may qualify for incentives under ComEd’s Custom Efficiency programs.

Standard Compressed Air Prescriptive Incentive Programs

ComEd offers several additional prescriptive incentive programs for compressed air. Pre-application is not required for projects with a cost of under $1,000.

Offer Standard Prescriptive Rebate
Air compressor(s) with integrated VSD ≤ 200 HP $200 per HP
VSD retrofit on air compressor ≤ 200 HP $75 per HP
High-efficiency air nozzles $20 per nozzle
Low pressure drop filter $3.50 per connected HP
No-loss condensate drains $100 per drain
Refrigerated dryers:
Thermal Mass
VSD
Digital Scroll
    $1 per rated CFM
    $3 per rated CFM
    $2 per rated CFM
    Heat of compression desiccant compressed air dryer $4 per CFM
    Heated blower purge desiccant compressed air dryer $4 per CFM
    Heat of compression desiccant compressed air dryer $4 per CFM
    Heated blower purge desiccant compressed air dryer $4 per CFM
    Variable displacement screw air compressor $30 per HP
    Compressed air pressure flow controller $10 per HP
    Added compressor storage on load/no load systems $1.50 per gallon

     

    Custom Energy Efficiency Programs from ComEd

    The Custom Energy Efficiency Program provides incentives for other types of improvements based on the kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy saved. The incentive for custom projects is $0.12/kWh saved. 

    Custom incentives pay for upgrades not otherwise qualifying for prescriptive rebates under the Standard or Small Business Programs.

    Examples may include:

    • right-sizing the compressed air system;
    • multiple compressor systems;
    • VSD for compressors > 200 HP;
    • load or pressure reduction.

    Projects must be pre-approved but do not require an energy audit. To get started with a custom study, contact ComEd or an authorized Industrial Service Provider such as Fluids-Aire Dynamics. 

    Industrial Systems Programs

    The Industrial Systems Programs at ComEd provide additional incentives for industrial systems projects, including compressed air studies, repair and system upgrades. These programs are open to customers with compressed air systems of 25 HP or greater. Industrial Systems Programs include the Fix-It-Now Program and Comprehensive Energy Studies. 

    The ComEd Fix-It-Now Program

    The Fix-it-Now Program is aimed at simple, low-cost measures to improve the efficiency of industrial systems. Unlike most prescriptive and custom energy incentive programs from ComEd, the Fix-It-Now Program does not require pre-approval for systems under 1,000 HP. 

    Fix-It-Now Leak Repair 

    The Fix-It-Now Leak Repair Program is one of ComEd’s most popular programs. Under this program, manufacturers can get most compressed air leaks fixed at no cost and make other energy-saving improvements. Manufacturers must commit to repairing at least 50% of the leaks detected. ComEd will pay up to $120 for each leak detected and repaired. This covers the cost of repair for all but the largest or most complex leaks. The money is paid directly to the vendor, so there are no up-front costs for manufacturers.

    To qualify, manufacturers must:

    • Have a compressed air system of 25 HP or larger (not including backup systems);
    • Repair at least 50% of leaks identified;
    • Repair at least one leak for every five HP of non-backup air compressors;
    • Be located in an eligible zip code within ComEd’s service area.

    Leak repair can save thousands of dollars on your compressed air energy bill. ComEd will cover leak detection and repair as often as every nine months so you can stay on top of new leaks as they develop.

    Fluid-Aire Dynamics is an approved service provider under the ComEd Fix-it-Now Leak Repair Program. We use an ultrasonic detector to locate leaks in your compressed air system that are too small to detect with human senses. We’ll repair as many leaks as possible on the spot, and then send the bill to ComEd. If leaks are too numerous to fix in a single visit, we’ll schedule a follow-up appointment. Leaks that will cost more than $120 to repair are tagged, and we’ll give you an estimate for the additional costs not covered by the ComEd program.

    Aire Tip: Leaks in your compressed air system can add 30% or more to your compressed air energy bill. Read more about the cost of leaks in your compressed air system. 

    Fix-It-Now Prescriptive Incentives 

    This program pays incentives for identification of issues and repair or mitigation of issues identified.

    Project Type Identification Incentive Repair/Mitigation Incentive
    Air Compressor with integrated VSD ≤ 150 HP $20 $85/HP
    VSD retrofit on air compressor ≤ 150 HP $20 $60/HP
    High-efficiency air nozzle $20 $20/nozzle
    Zero-loss condensate drain $20 $100/drain
    Low pressure drop filters $20 $3.50/connected HP
    Increase storage on load/no load systems $20 $1.50/gallon
    Decrease discharge pressure $5 $50/PSI reduction
    Desiccant compressed air dryer $20 $4/CFM
    Other (low-pressure, blowers, outdoor intake set point adjustment, desiccant dryer dew point adjustment, etc.) $0 $0.12/kWh saved

     

    Comprehensive Industrial Study

    Large businesses may also qualify for a comprehensive energy efficiency study from ComEd. Manufacturers who implement energy-saving measures identified in the comprehensive study qualify for up to $0.18 for each kWh of energy saved under the ComEd Industrial Systems Program. In many cases, this is enough to cover all or most of the cost of the upgrade. 

    These studies cover five areas of energy use:

    1. Compressed Air
    2. Process Cooling
    3. Industrial Refrigeration
    4. Wastewater Treatment/Water Supply
    5. Process Efficiency

    The projects have three phases:

    1. Investigation: Each project starts with an energy efficiency study completed by ComEd and/or an authorized ComEd partner. The study identifies the biggest opportunities for energy savings and estimates the annual kWh savings for each improvement.
    2. Installation: The recommended installation, repair, or upgrade is completed by an authorized ComEd partner. As with the prescriptive programs, you can designate your compressed air vendor as the incentive recipient, so you only have to pay for costs over and above what the incentive will cover.
    3. Verification: Custom programs must have a follow-up study completed after the installation to verify that the estimated energy savings have been realized. ComEd pays the vendor once the verification study is complete.

    The compressed air portion of the study will most likely include both leak detection and data logging. This involves attaching a sensor such as a pressure gauge or amp meter to the system for an extended time period, typically at least two weeks. In most cases, amp meter data logging is sufficient for a compressed air study. Monitoring energy use by the air compressor over time allows us to extrapolate important information such as the average duty cycle, time spent loaded and unloaded, peak usage times, and the variability in energy use over a shift, day, or week.

    Collecting data over time while the system is in normal operation provides insights into system performance that can be used to identify opportunities for savings. For example, if you have large variations in compressed air demand, the study may recommend installing a smaller HP backup compressor for use during periods of low demand. The energy savings created by reducing dependence on a large compressor may more than pay for the cost of the smaller compressor. A comprehensive study can also tell you if you are running your compressed air system at a higher pressure than necessary.

    Getting Started with ComEd Energy Incentives for Compressed Air Systems

    Fluid-Aire Dynamics makes it easy to qualify for incentive and incentive programs from ComEd. We are an authorized service provider for compressed air system energy incentives through ComEd. We’ll even fill out the paperwork for you and provide all the required documentation.

    We can:

    • Conduct compressed air studies through the ComEd program;

    • Identify your greatest opportunities for energy savings and incentives;

    • Detect and repair leaks through the Fix-It-Now Program;

    • Install qualifying equipment and upgrades, including VSD air compressors.

    Contact us to learn how we can help you improve the energy efficiency of your compressed air system. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can start saving money on your energy bill!

     

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