Slaying Energy Vampires Through Power Quality Solutions

Ahorro y Calidad de Energía Eléctrica S.A. de C.V. (ACEE)

7. Affordable and Clean Energy 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action

Overview

In a world of abundant and cheap fossil fuels, the rational use of energy has been historically underrated. By specializing in understanding the main sources for energy leakage and inadequate power quality, ACEE managed to evolve from a traditional power installation service company to a holistic energy efficiency solution provider passing on substantial savings to its clients and contributing to a more efficient use of our energy resources and a reduction in emissions derived from an unrestrained use of electricity.

Authors

José Manuel Lamadrid Salinas

José Manuel Lamadrid Salinas

Cyndi Acosta

Cyndi Acosta

Simon Garrido

Simon Garrido

Jose Luis Guerra Olivares

Jose Luis Guerra Olivares

School

EGADE Business School Tecnologico de Monterrey

EGADE Business School Tecnologico de Monterrey

Professor

MARTIN H BREMER

MARTIN H BREMER

Innovation

After completing a PhD in Electrical engineering in the early 90’s, Armando Llamas, founder and CEO of ACEE consulting was eager to start a business in the power industry, more specifically in the commercial and industrial power infrastructure and installation services. He found a very competitive playing field with plenty of local and regional businesses intending to deliver a similar value offering: To execute the installation and commissioning for power systems in commercial buildings and industrial players. As competition started getting fierce, differentiation became more challenging, margins started to tighten and the whole business idea became unappealing.

By analyzing its competition and client needs, Mr. Llamas discovered an attractive niche opportunity as there were not any industry players with the ability to understand, diagnose and execute power quality solutions, which would result in significant savings in its customers energy bills. In 1998, by specializing in the matter and shifting his value offering to a holistic energy management approach and adequate customized “turn-key” solutions, ACEE managed to appeal a solid customer base through the design of projects with feasible investments, reasonable payback periods and life expected savings. Through this innovation ACEE became a reference for energy efficiency and power quality solutions contributing with technology to enhance energy efficiency, a better use of primary energy resources and contributing to reduce industrial and commercial CO2 emissions resulting from power generation.

Slaying Energy Vampires Through Power Quality Solutions

Inspiration

Through his academic background Mr. Llamas developed a strong passion in the field of electrical engineering. A highly specialized subject of study in a country where there is not enough resonance for engineering and scientific work. He is a preacher of the relevance for the rational and efficient use of energy and resources in any human activity. As he has been highly aware of the harmful effects of CO2 emissions in the environment and the impact of the power industry on the global warming, he has devoted his career to improving consciousness and engineering solutions for better energy utilization.

His dream and personal inspiration for a better world is to minimize energy spoilage in industrial and commercial processes, promoting an efficient energy usage, while being able to switch towards a more sustainable energy “ecosystem” with higher penetration of renewable sources. Given this personal vision, Mr. Llamas decided to commit his professional career and personal business towards a more responsible use of energy by utilizing his experience and technical knowledge.

The idea of founding ACEE came from the inspiration of offering a unique solution for the industry. “If you want to do the same as the competitors, or if there are another one hundred companies offering the exact same thing as you do, you have to be the very best”. This is the reason why ACEE focused on solving specific problems for many companies not just by selling electrical equipment or installation services, but by giving a holistic “tailor-made” solution.

Overall impact

By focusing and specializing in the “unknown” world of the power quality and energy efficiency solutions, ACEE has managed to offer a more sophisticated variety of products and services enhancing its competitive position against other industry players. Today the business has performed numerous projects throughout the whole country, as opposed to a more regional scope if the traditional power installation services had been maintained. Currently its service offering includes regulatory compliance assessment, power quality monitoring systems, energy management systems, power factor compensation among others.

Its customer portfolio includes global businesses such as Caterpillar, Hershey’s, Ternium, Johnson Controls, Lego, General Electric, BBVA Bancomer, HEB, Cemex, Whirlpool and many other market leaders for a various number of industries. ACEE has contributed to identify and take advantage of energy saving opportunities, enhancing business competitiveness and productivity through improving asset useful life, reducing maintenance costs and making processes more “energy efficient”.

Business benefit

Due to its importance in any manufacturer’s cost structure, every single industrial company seems to be concerned about its electricity origin, reliability and usage. Alternate sources of energy such as the photovoltaic have become very popular in the past few years. However, solar intermittency remains as solar panels’ main disadvantage, since a consistent source of electricity is crucial for any industrial activity, in a world where profitability highly depends on the ability to maintain a steady production process throughout the day. By shifting ACEE’s value offering towards this new approach, the firm managed to attract a broader customer base, increase its sales and build up brand recognition in the country as a “niche player”. Throughout this innovation ACEE has been able to reduce costs of electric billing and electrical assets to its customer base, enhance productivity and competitiveness of plenty of industrial companies by extending the useful life of equipment and electrical systems.

In this context, ACEE has also developed the ability to better identify its clients’ needs, while providing a feasible implementation plan for power quality and efficiency projects. This becomes particularly relevant for a consulting firm since the “word of mouth” is the most valuable advertising instrument. In the end, the most advanced countries in the world have implemented many of these recommendations for decades with the result of an increase in their production indices which have led to savings in energy usage.

Social and environmental benefit

Energy efficiency, through a highly specialized consulting process and technology offering, which is the main value pursued by ACEE, not only brings economic benefits for companies helping to improve their costs and therefore their profitability, but it also contributes to the environment through less use of non-renewable energy sources, diminishing its impact on climate change. In Mexico, most of the energy that is generated in the country is produced using fossil fuels (mainly natural gas & coal), so if each manufacturing process decreases its electricity consumption by making its use of energy more efficient, power plants will have to generate less and less electricity, contributing to reduced CO2 emissions.

A lower impact on the environment brings indirect benefits to our society, which will enjoy a better air quality for current and future generations. Of course, these benefits for society would gain more traction in the extent that more and more companies joined the practice of making more efficient use of electricity to produce their goods and services. Additionally, ACEE’s new role is to develop awareness among businesses and society on the importance of a better use of our resources (i.e. electricity). In the end, Mr. Llamas mission is to contribute in developing social consciousness on the impact of the negligent use of conventional energy sources and their impact in the phenomenon of global warming.

Interview

Armando Rafael Llamas Terrés, PhD Electrical Engineering

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Ahorro y Calidad de Energía Eléctrica S.A. de C.V. (ACEE)

Ahorro y Calidad de Energía Eléctrica S.A. de C.V. (ACEE)

Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, MX

Business Website: http://www.acee.com.mx/

Year Founded: 1998

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

ACEE is a consulting firm specialized in delivering power quality and energy efficiency solutions for commercial buildings, industrial groups and government institutions, contributing to strengthen their productivity and competitiveness.