Superior, WI – Paul Omberg had a lot of older lighting at his plant that he knew he wanted to replace.
“It wasn’t necessarily our office building; it was out in our plant and also our perimeter polls,” said Omberg, Technical Services Manager at Midwest Energy Resources Company in Superior.
Some of the lights were old metal-halide and mercury-vapor lamps that were still working but inefficient compared to new LED bulbs. Omberg needed to convince ownership to invest in new lights – and that is where Focus on Energy and his utility helped.
Working with Superior Water, Light & Power and Focus on Energy’s Large Energy Users Program, Midwest Energy Resources Company found it qualified for financial incentives through Focus on Energy that would help offset the initial cost and shorten the expected payback time.
“We started looking at that and doing a quick return-on-investment calculation to see if it would make sense for us to pursue it, and it did,” Omburg explained. “It had a really good – especially the stuff in the plant – had less than a year payback. So it was very attractive for us. It was an easy way to sell it to our parent company.”
Omberg and his team, with help from Great Lakes Electrical Equipment Co., replaced dozens of lights in the plant area and dozens more on exterior perimeter polls on the property.
“It took several months, but we finally got it all switched out last year. And I can say it’s shown up on our power bill. You definitely see it, there’s no doubt about that. The project went smoothly and our interaction with [Focus on Energy] was about as smooth as can be.”
The 2018 upgrades and commitment to reducing energy waste earned Midwest Energy Resources Company a financial incentive of nearly $14,000 from Focus on Energy. Over their lifecycle, the new lights will save more than five million kilowatt-hours of electricity, enough to meet the electricity use of 622 homes for a full year.
“It was, in my mind, a slam dunk project. It was worth it and now here we are [going to] reap those benefits on and on and on,” Omberg said. “As the years go by, it’s just [going to] keep on paying back.”
Omberg believes the new lighting also improves safety.
“That coal pile out there… it’s almost like a light sink. It just sucks up the light. There’s no reflection or whatever. But now [we have] the lighting on our shuttle conveyors and the lighting on our perimeter polls, and it’s way better than it ever was… And it is a huge safety [benefit], absolutely.”
About Focus on Energy
Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities' statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program funded by the state's investor-owned energy utilities and participating municipal and electric cooperative utilities. Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Focus on Energy information, resources and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not be completed. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect our environment and control Wisconsin's growing demand for electricity and natural gas. For more information call 800.762.7077 or visit focusonenergy.com.
About Midwest Energy Resources Company
Midwest Energy Resources Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of DTE Electric Company, provides efficient rail, vessel and truck delivery of coal from the western U.S.
Superior Water, Light & Power