Energy prices are high and expected to rise. All CO2 emissions are being scrutinized by regulators as well as by public opinion. As a result, energy management has become a key factor in almost every business. To get the most out of each kilowatt-hour, appliances must be carefully evaluated for their energy efficiency.
It is an often overlooked fact that electrical energy gets lost in both end-use and in the supply system (cables, busbars, transformers, etc.). Every cable has resistance, so part of the electrical energy that it carries is dissipated as heat and is lost.
Such energy losses can be reduced by increasing the cross section of the copper conductor in a cable or busbar. Obviously, the conductor size cannot be increased endlessly. The objective should be the economic and/or environmental optimum. What is the optimal cross section necessary to maximize the Return on Investment (ROI) and minimize the Net Present Value (NPV) and/or the Life Cycle Cost (LCC)?
This paper will demonstrate that the maximizing of the ROI results in a cross section that is far larger than which technical standards prescribe. Those standards are based entirely on safety and certain power quality aspects. This means there is room for improvement—a great deal of improvement in fact.