Demand Response for California Agricultural Irrigation

A paper by Gary Marks of iP Solu­tions, “Oppor­tu­ni­ties for Demand Response in Cal­i­for­nia Agri­cul­tural Irri­ga­tion: A Scop­ing Study” has just been pub­lished by the Demand Response Research Cen­ter (DRRC).

Link to the DRRC version


Cal­i­for­nia agri­cul­tural irri­ga­tion con­sumes more than ten bil­lion kilo­watt hours of elec­tric­ity annu­ally and has sig­nif­i­cant poten­tial for con­tribut­ing to a reduc­tion of stress on the grid through demand response, per­ma­nent load shift­ing, and energy effi­ciency mea­sures. To under­stand this poten­tial, a scop­ing study was ini­ti­ated for the pur­pose of deter­min­ing the asso­ci­ated oppor­tu­ni­ties, poten­tial, and adop­tion chal­lenges in Cal­i­for­nia agri­cul­tural irrigation.

The pri­mary research for this study was con­ducted in two ways. First, data was gath­ered and parsed from pub­lished sources that shed light on where the best oppor­tu­ni­ties for load shift­ing and demand response lie within the agri­cul­tural irri­ga­tion sec­tor. Sec­ondly, a small lim­ited sur­vey was con­ducted as infor­mal face-to-face inter­views with sev­eral dif­fer­ent Cal­i­for­nia grow­ers to get an idea of their abil­ity and will­ing­ness to par­tic­i­pate in per­ma­nent load shift­ing and/or demand response programs.

Analy­sis of the data obtained from pub­lished sources and the sur­vey reveal demand response and per­ma­nent load shift­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties by grow­ing region, irri­ga­tion source, irri­ga­tion method, grower size, and util­ity cov­er­age. The study exam­ines some solu­tions for demand response and per­ma­nent load shift­ing in agri­cul­tural irri­ga­tion, which include ade­quate irri­ga­tion sys­tem capac­ity, auto­matic con­trols, vari­able fre­quency dri­ves, and the con­tri­bu­tion from energy effi­ciency measures.

The study fur­ther exam­ines the poten­tial and chal­lenges for grower accep­tance of demand response and per­ma­nent load shift­ing in Cal­i­for­nia agri­cul­tural irri­ga­tion. As part of the exam­i­na­tion, the study con­sid­ers to what extent per­ma­nent load shift­ing, which is already some­what accepted within the agri­cul­tural sec­tor, mit­i­gates the need or ben­e­fit of demand response for agri­cul­tural irri­ga­tion. Rec­om­men­da­tions for fur­ther study include stud­ies on how to gain grower accep­tance of demand response as well as other related stud­ies such as con­duct­ing a more com­pre­hen­sive sur­vey of Cal­i­for­nia growers.

The full CEC pdf document


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