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Smart Grid Agri California

Smart Grid, Case Study, Smart meter, Infrastructure, climate change, Carbon, Agri, CaliforniaSmart Grid Project web to wireless controller for irrigation pumps for an agricultural demand response program in California (USA). 

Technology and investment in Smart Grid infrastructure including sensors, smart meters, and monitoring equipment: Case study including results.

Results

  1. PG&E called four peak demand events in 2011, and M2M estimates that PEAR program participation reduced summer peak demand by an average of 18 megawatts per event.
  2. By the end of 2012, M2M anticipates installing systems on approximately 700 additional pumps in California, for a total of 1,000 pumps representing about 180 megawatts of potentially interruptible load.
  3. The potential for agricultural demand response may be large and extends beyond California. Some 160,000 irrigation pumps are located in the PG&E and SCE service territories. M2M estimates the agricultural demand response resource in California to be about 1,000 megawatts,
  4. M2M typically provides farmers with notice of an anticipated peak demand event 24 hours in advance via text, voice, or email. If shutting off the pumps is not feasible, the farmer can choose to opt out. If the farmer does not opt out, M2M’s network operations center sends a shutdown signal to the irrigation pumps through its wireless network.
    • Farmers receive equipment free of charge and have opportunities to earn cash incentives by reducing peak electricity usage. Participation in peak demand events can earn farmers an average of $5,000 per irrigation pump per year.
    • In addition, the avoided costs of peak demand charges can top $10,000 per pump per year. Farmers can conveniently turn pumps on or off via the web portal or by calling a toll-free phone number.
    • Similar to programming a household thermostat, farmers can also create flexible on/off schedules for the pumps via the web portal. This feature can save time and travel and increase the overall efficiency of farm operations.

Why they acted

While load control programs for residential, commercial, and industrial buildings have helped reduce peak demand for many years, the PEAR program is tapping irrigation pumps and the agricultural demand response market, a largely untapped resource.

Irrigation is well-suited for load management because loads are typically coincident with the electric system’s summer peak demand. Also, irrigation pumps can be shut off for entire peak periods, which can last for several hours. This complete shutdown option is not typically available for other types of loads, such as air conditioning, because of concerns about the comfort and safety of building tenants.

How we did it

  • On 300 pumps irrigation load control system have been installed in the PG&E service territory, representing about 60 megawatts of interruptible load.
  • the PEAR program is tapping irrigation pumps and the agricultural demand response market
    a largely untapped resource. Irrigation is well-suited for load management because loads are typically coincident with the electric system’s summer peak demand.
  • Via a personalized web portal, farmers can see the status of their equipment at a glance

Next step

The potential for agricultural demand response may be large and extends beyond California. Some 160,000 irrigation pumps are located in the PG&E and SCE service territories. The agricultural demand response resource could be more than 10,000 megawatts nationwide.

M2M conducted a pilot project with Midwest Energy in Kansas; and the third-party demand response provider is currently looking for other utility partners with significant summer irrigation loads and interest in reducing peak demand. M2M is working with farmers to assess effectiveness and determine how the information from the irrigation load control system can provide additional savings to agricultural customers nationwide.

Lessons Learned

  • As part of the project, farmers have access to real-time information on irrigation pump operations, soil moisture, water consumption, temperature, and other data points via a customized web portal.

Contact Information

John Laughlin, M2M’s chief executive officer

M2M Communications

E. info@m2mcomm.com

W. M2M Communications

 

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