How to ensure Energy and Carbon Resilient projects with a Simple Screening Tool

The Asian Development Bank has put together a Screening Tool for the Energy Evaluation of Projects. As a result, it can guarantee that the water and wastewater projects it backs are fully aligned in the race to net zero water!

with 🎙️ Stephane Bessadi – Senior Procurement Specialist for the Asian Development Bank

💧 The Asian Development Bank (ADB) commits to a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and Pacific Region.

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What we covered:

🌎 How to build more efficient, inclusive, and climate friendly water and wastewater projects

⚡ How water challenges often come hand in hand with energy struggles – and how to kill two birds with one stone

💻 How STEEP was built from pilot studies and field data, enriched with operational feedback

🤖 How digital solutions and new technologies support the transition towards higher energy efficiency

💧 How the population’s welfare is highly interlinked with water quality – especially in developing countries

💰 Getting value for money, assessing technologies, supporting innovation, partnering with private sector companies, acting with pedagogy… and much more!

🔥 … and of course, we concluded with the 𝙧𝙖𝙥𝙞𝙙 𝙛𝙞𝙧𝙚 𝙦𝙪𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨 🔥 

Teaser: a Screening Tool for the Energy Evaluation of Projects


🔗 Have a look at the Asian Development Bank’s website

🔗 Check their STEEP tools

🔗 Come say hi to Stephane on Linkedin

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is on Linkedin ➡️

One Pager: a Screening Tool for the Energy Evaluation of Projects


Quotes: a Screening Tool for the Energy Evaluation of Projects


Full Transcript:

These are computer-generated, so expect some typos 🙂

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Antoine Walter: Hi, Stephen. Welcome to the show.

Stephane Bessadi: Hi, thank you very much.

Antoine Walter: we have a full plate of topics for today, and I’m really excited to discover what you do with the Asian development bank in the fields of this race to zero carbon. And to go a bit deeper into the topics we might have touched when we were on scene in Madrid for the global water summit. But right before I have a tradition on that microphone, which is to open with a postcard and you’re sending to the postcard from Manila.

What can you tell me about Manila? Which I would ignore it.

Stephane Bessadi: Thank You for for this this opportunity. So many lights are very, a big city. Our first to start with very dynamic city located in one of the main Iceland of the Philippines. it’s where a Asian development bank has its headquarters. Since now, And so we are really at the heart of Asia and the Pacific, in order to build and find out.

And manage also support our developing members, country clients to improve the life of the poor and the Sabrina rubber, especially in Asia and the Pacific.

Antoine Walter: You were a senior procurement specialist for the Asian development bank. What does that role encompass?

Stephane Bessadi: first, before to join AGB or higher about 16 years of experience in the private sector and.

in ADB, I’m bringing my expertise that I built while developing or water and urban project. In many different cities in Asia, like Mumbai, Jakarta, Jeddah, and many other city. So I was physically you’re based in Asia and the Pacific for many years.

So that’s why I was not only traveling there, but I was really living in the cities for many years. So I have really, I think good building experience, expertise, and experience to develop and manage complex projects. I think it’s what, wasn’t the interesting for years that I joined nurse insert five years now.

And I’m contributing. Bringing my expertise and my experience, in order to build more efficient, more inquisitive and more climate friendly, water and wastewater projects, especially not only, but let’s say, especially because it’s my field of expertise, but of course, ADB is also are working in a lot of different sectors as announced, algae.

Transport health education and many our sectors. So we may see that ma maybe just to add a few points or it may sound a little bit new or that that we are considering climate aspect in whatever. But I feel for myself that at the end of the day, maybe we are naming it differently today, but we are already doing that since many years because in my different position most of my work was to contribute, to deliver a better service to customer.

Minimizing what our losses, for example, by minimizing NLG spending, we were already since many years contributing to the climate aspect. That’s our, of course our with the climate crisis are formalizing or much more in a visible way since some time.

Antoine Walter: Actually on this climate and environment topics, you’ve been writing and publishing a screening tool for the energy evaluation of projects, so steep. And you’ve done that together with Rodney chapping, Alexandra Conroy, and Alvin Plaza. And that is going to be our deep dive for today. But I’d like to understand.

The context. Why did you launch this initiative and how can you describe the full thing in maybe two sentence?

Stephane Bessadi: I joined ADB or I had the chance to, or to travel or very different places let’s say from from Georgia to where a PRC. To Nepal up to the Pacific islands’ in order to visit and to support the many water utilities. And we were very concerned by the fact that very offense or a watch your distribution, what production issues where combining.

What are delivery difficulties with energy spending. to give you some example, in some of the utility we’ve visited, the energy budget was very significant for the water distribution. And of course it was going in parallel with. What our distribution conditions. very high number of any water very bad network conditions and finally very bad service delivery to the customers.

So that’s why we really started to seem that it would be really important to combine these initiatives. And we had concept and the initial collaboration. IWC. And we did an initial field testing in Vietnam. And finally we continued to develop, these on the project that we were developing in PRC and Georgia, where we were asked to bring low energy sources.

So finally we developed a beta version, let’s say. So that was developed and tested in PRC in Georgia. And in Kiribas in the Pacific and we were a bird really to formalize the tool because it was the best solution to share. The initiative for everybody to really understand what we wanted to add to, or to achieve.

So finally we formalize or the tool and the knowledge project, and we were able to present it in our energy forum. In 2019 are developed by ADB. And finally we are the next on that publication and the launch in 2009.

Antoine Walter: So the tool looks at the existing situation of a plant or utility, and then gives some hints at how you can make that better or differently. I’m really oversimplifying it right now, but from the very beginning of it, how does the tool assess the Bay’s situation?

Stephane Bessadi: We are combining or different Andy kettles for water and for wastewater so is there is a mistrust of data collection phase that is quite reasonable, in order to compile and to really understand what is a basic observe, what our utility or the plant or the network condition and context.

wizard these data we are able to The compare the KPI with existing system and benchmark. And what is really very interesting is that he gives a guidance in the different aspect observe what a utility or management. So it’s not only NLG KPI, but it’s also. Operational KPI or a managerial KPI in order, really to have a good understanding of how the utility or the infrastructure works.

And by comparing, these antique veterans, is that a to the benchmark that are existing in the system, or we are able to really identify key issues and to recover. So best practice and to grow command practical action to challenge and to act issues that he’s identified.

Antoine Walter: So the tool gives recommendation. It is published from the Asian development bank. So do you have a way to, to enforce it, to enforce a recommendation and to tell the people actually beyond the recommendation, you shall really do.

Stephane Bessadi: what is really innovative in the approach is that it’s really our force, the user to think about the plant in our chief. Of the future infrastructure and the future project. So it’s not always a case. So in our case, it is very significant because it’s really for us to consider what will be the future energy spending and easy possible.

Is it reasonable to have such, energy spending? As, you know, in project development, it’s not always the same entity who is in charge of the project development and the project operation. So we think it’s very important to have this tool at the project strategy preparation phase, because you have to consider the project globally and not only for its preparation, but also for its implementation.

I want also to ads that it’s not really Useful, I will say, or efficient to force user to use a stip tool. So it’s not prescriptive, but what we are highlighting is that it is really building the future sustainability of the water system. Because it’s building the financial sustainability because the energy level is optimized.

And so the future energy spending is optimized, but it’s also building the future technical sustainability because very affirmed . Too high energy spending at the end of the day, . I have not separated anymore because of lack of, for financial resources.

So the project is not run on the non-tech. So we are just to to answer your question very practically we are very pedagogy. And socialization approach that’s why also it’s very important for us to be presenting in this event developed by GWS today because it’s really a way for us to socialize the tool and the approach, is it two days free?

So it’s really something that has been developed. Bayer, Asian development bank. And that is provided for free to our tweets DMC clients and to the public, and really we, what we are interested with as, you know, ADB as the ambition to be the climate bank in Asia and the Pacific, and it’s really to develop good practice and sustainable approach for all those utilities who are willing to upend it.

Antoine Walter: So first for the one, listening to that, the link to the tool is in the show notes. So you can have a look for yourself. You will see that there is an explanation around the. And the tool itself, it’s an Excel format. I was able to play with it. So I guess someone with with a brain, which is not me, might be able to use it even better.

You mentioned how that tool will help choose to work on the strategic planning of a project. And I’m wondering if you have some examples to share of cases where having applied to that tool changed your approach to the project and change the way you designed the product.

Stephane Bessadi: We have some very practical example aware We use the tool to define the future or any achieve observe of the water or wastewater system. So for example, we have used eat dinner. PBP preparation. So public private partnership that we are assisting in the Asian development bank to develop.

So for example, we assisted one Uzbekistan in one city in the north of Uzbekistan. Where we had to support the governments to prepare the future wastewater treatment plan. And so steep, why used to run scenarios are for energy consumption and total cabron emission during PPP. Based on the planning scenarios.

So we were able to set the KPI with reasonable but aggressive targets, so to assure a minimum emissions. So it’s really a way to set the long term in LG target the combined emission and the chemical, that are used for the project. To compare it with the benchmark that is defined in the tool.

And we were really able to set ambitious targets. And what was very interesting is that so this project is now completed and there has been selected and. Find out any algae living considered in the beets, we are very close Zen, the ones that we w we defined with the tool.

So it’s very useful in order to improve Carbon efficiencies a company emission of the water system in Asia and the Pacific, because it’s really helped to concede their their mission on the long term. So it’s really an approach we are developing also in our procurement when we took your projector in that in ADB you know, that we are already trying to have this strategic and long term approach.

So not only to consider. Project development and implementation, but really to consider what would be the future operation for the coming 10 or 15 years.

Antoine Walter: In the document that comes with the tool, you’re incentivizing five key axes of improvement for existing plans. You’re naming to repair degraded assets, revamp, electrical, and mechanical systems to reduce non-revenue water, to increase automation and to solve some of the waste water treatment steps. So that makes five key areas to look at.

I’m just looking for the Martin Gayle here. So would you have one of those, which by experience is the low hanging fruits with even more potential than the other ones?

Stephane Bessadi: personally, I’m a strong believer of operational expertise, and I really think that you have to demonstrate as you say, a low hanging fruit on the short term, in order to convince everybody personally, I think. And the professional review of really on the professional expense can really help to identify low hanging fruits.

And we have some example, for example, in a project, in Georgia we did a demo of the tool in one city and in a few weeks just by changing some pumping regimes and by changing some. Hydraulic technical items of the network. We were really able to show that it was possible to decrease the NLG spending by 20 to 30% when you have electric bills, which are representing big amounts, like.

Fewer hundred thousands of Euro. You can imagine that energy spending is really significant. So I would say these operational expertise is I would say the first one after our personality, I really think it’s very important to to develop Smart systems, SCADA systems, or in order to give you some monitoring tool on the medium term.

So in order to monitor your progress after one year after two years, three year, it’s very important to have this. Monitoring tool because today, of course, it’s giving a lot of flexibility and a lot of understanding of the water system. So of course, a digitalization of the water system is very important.

And that would say the cell but very important aspect is when you have really good understanding of your operation, of your system or of the data collection, then you can really also this. Very smart rehabilitation and the CapEx plan , you know, they have to really improve the system and Optum.

Antoine Walter: You mentioned the operational expertise. Is that something which sits within Asian development bank. And do you have people which which help on projects with that? Or do you look for partners to be those operational experts?

Stephane Bessadi: You’re right. It’s very important to mention that. Of course we are not working alone on that and there for this project, for example, it was very important to benefit from the expertise of algebra international. Represented by Mr. Champion. So it’s really a private company who is expert in these aspects of NLG optimization and cupboard optimization.

So you’re right. It’s very important to build partnerships and to to find, or is the expertise I have to say that the institution is also trying to include more and more people with the private under operational expertise, because I think now it’s really acknowledged at the higher level that operation and maintenance is really key for the long term sustainability of the infrastructure.

And of course, Also to be able to build climate impact on the long term, she’s a professional and I expect that we ran bottoms.

Antoine Walter: You mentioned a PPP project before there are many of these, let’s call them new business models and no, they are not brand new, but it’s new approaches where you have a splits of. Maintenance, as you mentioned between the end user and maybe the PC company or other players, do you see those new business models booming and being developed?

Because actually that’s the way to be future-proof if a company is responsible for the next 20 years of operation of the plants, you’re building, chances are that they are also looking at the energy and carbon impacts because they will have to pay directly for the, but designs they might do in the capital.

Stephane Bessadi: you’re right. this different contract modalities are also are more and more important. Or for example, we have developed in ADB design build and operate type of contract. Two, three years ago. So we have developed that in order to engage. the operator on the long term and to be also responsibility.

And to benefit from the design decision. So in order to really, be able to get the fruits of his expertise at design stage so this type of contract has been implemented and is now, used in many projects. But we are very interested by the fact to propose also standalone operation and maintenance contract.

So we are now this year we are developing. , a special template and special contract condition, in order to have operation and maintenance contract alone for operators to be a bird to deliver that is their expertise.

 medium to long term regarding operation and maintenance. We think there is really, change in the markets and the more and more a client, more and more government, and the municipalities are interested by this type of contract. And we hope also that more and more operators we be interested by this type of contract and that I would be very interested also, or.

Feedback and reaction or during the seminar on this type of contract, but they think it’s sort of so very linked to this climate ambition because at the end of the day, you can have the best infrastructure and you can observe the very high technology and frustrated.

It’s really at operation stage, that you are really gaining. It’s a result of your investment. And there is that you are a bird to minimize as a cabin spending and also really improve your system and to keep your system performance on the long term.

Antoine Walter: This operational stage, that’s what GWA defined as the hens print. So the carbon impact of our actions and knots of the goods, which would be the footprint. I’m wondering in your tool, do you also look at the footprint? Because so far we discussed about the operation, the execution and how it will behave in the future.

I’m wondering across the value chain. So the suppliers which will have to deliver parts of the plants, do they also have to adapt to this new realm of energy optimization and carbon impact, and if yes, how can you nudge them to do so with a tool like.

Stephane Bessadi: Of course it’s. Really a first step as the STP is really are an enabling tool are, and it’s really to start to build the concern and to build the appetite on such topics. What we see that the poor is really, we make it practical in the ways that we are really are relating or this this climate or.

Impact to our, to reel spending. So it has to be also financially sustainable for the users. So that’s why we are really using your tune with energy spending. And there yes, of course, in there in the coming evolution we love also to include the NLG footprint that is included in there in the project or in the goods in the materials that are used, are for.

Antoine Walter: I have a curve ball question. You mentioned digitization, you mentioned how scatter smarter yours will be. We’ll be helping and steep is an Excel file. So I’m just wondering in the age of artificial intelligence modeling neural networks, machine learning, I mean, you name it. I can pour so many buzzwords that’s you.

Is it important to still have something sturdy and simple, like an XL?

Stephane Bessadi: made it simpler because we really think it’s a first step to receive a good understanding in the public’s fair. So we made it simple so everybody can use it. But of course, it’s also digital tool in the ways that you are really. Able to collect that and to use it, not only from the site.

But it’s also part of the evolution process, we are considering also to include automatic data that, that data collection. And it’s very linked with. Of data monitoring and their automatic data collection observed in the process. We seeing that the first step is really also to make eater use that very user-friendly for everybody.

And after we will have a more sophisticated the Russian.

Antoine Walter: In your publication. If I zoom out You’re looking at something which I’ve already discussed on that microphone with with some guests this elements that wastewater to radically contains seven to 10 times the chemical energy needed to treat it. And that. With our technologies today, what we do most of the time is that we spend energy to destroy that chemical energy.

So we spend energy to destroy energy, which is probably not the most efficient way to treat wastewater. And that’s something you address in the publication and you say there might be ways to optimize that and to at least tends towards energy neutral. Not tapping into energy positive, which might require additional technologies.

I’m just wondering as a development bank, how can you support that transition? And do you believe you can really make a dent in that carbon and energy neutral treated.

Stephane Bessadi: Yeah, of course there is innovation. Is there either Israeli or. Private sector. Hannah is our reason. One who have this knowledge and this capacity to innovate in the aspect. We are mentioning it in the tool because of course for us, it’s very important perspectives and we really think, or that it should go in this direction and there is the technology evolves , to be able to.

To take all this energy that is contained in the wastewater, it would be really one of the future solution. Of course, it’s a recyclability aspects are more and more important, you know, in all the aspect of the. We can contribute really by your helping the introduction of technology or more and more in our in our project, in our bidding document.

For example, in the water project, we are publishing sooner a guidance note, in order to explain how to use merit points criteria. So as the Caesar, an evaluation method, which is also openings to our technical, social climate aspects in the, be the evaluation to add a mix of technical and financial criteria in order to really promote, or is it.

Which are bringing more technology and more more innovation on these aspects. So it’s really, I think it’s really also our role. It’s not only to to define the solution ourselves because we don’t have a release structure to do it, but really to enable the private sector to bring its technology and also.

To bring value for money. So it’s very important aspect to our projects to bring value for money , by bringing the best technology at the best cost possible.

Antoine Walter: But that best technology, especially. Of wastewater treatment, which are energy positive or positive. Those are still in their baby pants, baby steps, which might also mean that they have some childhood sicknesses. I mean, they are not yet to the same level of maturity than the traditional technologies.

how do you support that deployment? Does that mean you do specific pilots to make something targeted to the region and. To unleash the potential inside that was taken.

Stephane Bessadi: Yeah, there’s, as many activities within ADB you know, , dot to promote technology or innovation at pilot scale. Also to explain so innovation. So we have different opportunities for the private sector to explain it’s innovation and it’s a technology.

So for example, we have re very regularly business opportunity seminar You are aware, we explain how to be there to project and also are in cooperation with our constituencies with the different countries in which we are developing the business opportunity seminars.

We are also giving the floor to private sector to present, their innovation and their developing technology. So of course not all the technology are mature enough to be in 3d, in the project. But I really think it’s a process and You find very often. A few technologies that were presented or a few years ago, or at bylaws or at idea stage, which are now developed in project phase.

This phase of cooperation and discussion is very important. Last year we had about. 50 virtual business opportunity seminars. So we are really doing it very rigorously and you can find it on our website. Also, the podcast are related to these events.

Antoine Walter: You started with steep in 2017 and the first. Steve was published in 2019. I’m wondering what is your whole Ryzen? When are you ambitions to, to see major dents you’re making in that full carbon neutrality, energy management topic? What is your ambition and what will tell you that you’ve succeeded?

Stephane Bessadi: First we are, so we are very happy to see that it’s really, it’s except it had been implemented in project that has a real. Our materialization on the ground now that were really defined or using Ceaser and it’s approach. Now, so our buyer also reaching or events like your GWS event and other type of Everence, we really hope to have approach more and more developed in.

Private or in public project? I think what will be a very good targets is to have this type of approach mainstream in more and more projects in the coming years. But again I really think we should really be also patient in the way that it needs also some pedagogy or some showcasing or in order to demonstrate the effect and impact of such approach.

And after of course we hope that it will be really mainstream in most of the project.

Antoine Walter: Finally, let me circle back to you and to your path, actually you mentioned how you were involved in many places around Asia, but I’ve seen. From your career that you also were active in Africa, in connect Cree or in, in Jeddah or in donkey, even in France. And I’m wondering if you found the red threads in all of those water topics and something which you really noticed as a recurring pattern across the foods.

Stephane Bessadi: I think what is really fascinating when you travel on all the different countries, is that regarding water and it’s very local or local issue. And also there is a context of difference, but more or less, I think there is not enough consideration yet for the suspects.

And we see now that there is a water issues are also growing in Europe. So it’s really aspect that I think should be a constant there with with more and more seriousness and we should invest more in the water sector because a lot of other Aspects of the economy of the welfare of the population are really linked to the water condition.

Sometime in some condition, in some case where what our situation is may be better for now it’s taken for granted. And what I really advise is that by such approach as optimizing energy, optimizing. Should be taken in all the situation. And also what is very important is that we should make the investment in water sustainable and attractive.

And I think this kind of tool is also bringing and building this confidence because I think their investment in water so far have some time. There is a risk associated to that because there is a different operators and stakeholder might be afraid on the long term consideration.

But I think by improving the efficiency and the climate impact of the water system, it’s really a very good way to attract more and more investment.

Antoine Walter: Thanks for that deep dive. I think it was really fascinating to see all these various aspects of steep and beyond. If that’s fine with you or propose you to to finish with our last sequence, which is the rapid fire questions.

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Rapid fire questions:

Antoine Walter: So in that last section, I present you with short questions, which aim for short answers. Of course I’m not cutting the microphone, but that’s a bit the rule of the game. My first question is what is the most exciting projects you’ve been working on?

Stephane Bessadi: I have been working here in the project in in Jakarta where I rather in charge of improving the water distribution and Reggie singles, whatever is, and I really find it fantastic because we were able to achieve short term. Reserved and perceived short term results with a very good team spirit or with a local team.

So it was really a fantastic memory.

Antoine Walter: Can you name one thing that you’ve learned the hard way?

Stephane Bessadi: I think the, what you learn the hard way is to be more to listen more everybody’s point of view when you build the project, especially as myself, when you work in a multicultural context you have really to learn to listen and to consider the other perspective.

Sometimes you can be a little bit. Too confident of yourself. And it’s really a, some things that are, that they learn their drink all this year. Sometimes the hard way?

it’s really to learn and to listen to the others.

Antoine Walter: Is there something that you are doing today in your job that you will not be doing?

Stephane Bessadi: It’s a good question. I hope that everything that is related to digital, to data compilation that sometime that management will be much more easier and much more standard. That we would receive automatically, for example, or all the CNL cheek conception or the water consumption, or the alert, a lot of, much more data which will really help us to have to be even more efficient in the way we are.

We preserve and we improve the WhatsApp.

Antoine Walter: What is the trend to watch out for in the water?

Stephane Bessadi: I think is a very important trend is is a water quality. I think we are not even speaking or about water quality and I think it’s something we should, especially in developing countries. It’s really something we should, there are more and more consider a zer. Quality or wastewater quality because it’s the wastewater quality also impact the treatment efficiency and the water?


Because of course there is something we are doing or in Europe that is our day to day diabetes to green from the top. And I really I really think it’s very important also to bring this kind of, for, of ability in our developing countries to be able to drink from.

Antoine Walter: If you were a word political leader, what would be your first action to inference the fate of the words? What.

Stephane Bessadi: I think I will definitely increase the investment or level in water because I think it’s really important. In our, in many cases, let’s say in all the cases, but by also giving some barriers in the way that this project are implementing. Implemented and also by making sure that tools like T steeps like this type of, for for optimal optimization and there and smart approach, or are used to really make sure the investment are efficient.

I think it’s really important to make sure that all the invest investment bring our value from where they were, where wherever

Antoine Walter: And finally you’ve been a fantastic guest. So I have to ask, would you have someone else to recommend me that they should definitely invite on that same micro.

Stephane Bessadi: You have been a, really, a very good animator for this session. So really thank you for it for your session. I hope it wasn’t a thing for everybody. Of course they are. You have mini mini patient. There are people the water sector. So I have many. Many colleagues are, who are very interesting to listen to. Our leader in the water sector group in ADB, Nita, NetApp, I think as she’s very interesting to recent to, because she has a lot of experience and expertise. So it’s really someone you could go there and tell you may, maybe in the coming year coming days or weeks,

Antoine Walter: Thanks for the recommendation. And if people want to follow up with you after that session, where should I redirect them?

Stephane Bessadi: So what would be of course, or pre presented GWS event and if no, or I can be contacted by email. And there are, we’ll be really happy to answer any question or to continue the.

Antoine Walter: Of course the link will be in the show notes as well. Stephan. Thanks a lot. It was really a pleasure to have the discussion with you. And yeah, we’ll be on that same panel at global water summit. So I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at that special Evans and to get a bit, the feeling from also the utility is before and the rest of the VED chain after us to see how that food sector is aligning towards zero carbon and reduced energy consumption.

So thanks a lot and see you soon.

Stephane Bessadi: Thanks

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