For immediate release: June 13, 2001
Media Contact: Rob Schlichting - 916-654-4989

$75 million Released by California
for Agricultural Energy Efficiency


Sacramento - California has set aside $75 million in State funds to help the agricultural industry reduce its usage of electricity during this summer's energy crisis.

The program from the California Energy Commission is one of many now place to help business and industry cut their peak energy use this year.

"Energy use climbs in California on summer afternoons, threatening the State's electricity supply between the peak hours of 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.," said California Energy Commissioner Robert Pernell. "Through this program, farmers, food processors and other agri-businesses can get money to help them move some of their critical activities from hot summer afternoons to other times in the day, when energy supplies are less precarious."

To help reduce electricity costs and lessen the chances of rolling blackouts, the legislature appropriated $75 million to assist farmers and others in the agricultural industry be more energy efficient, and to shift their electricity use to other times of the day.

The goal is to save approximately 80 megawatts of peak power from the farming sector, to help protect our State's $27 billion agricultural industry from blackouts. Eligible projects must demonstrate that electricity load will be shifted or reduced between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, except holidays, for the months of June through September.

Funds are being made available to farmers, greenhouse operators, dairy farmers, water agencies, animal production facilities, food processors, owners of cold storage facilities, and other agriculture-related energy users.

Projects that improve the efficiency of agricultural electrical equipment or other improvements that reduce peak period energy use are eligible for the funds.

The State's "Peak Load Reduction Program" will partially pay for the purchase and installation of high efficiency pumps and premium motors. Additional projects to improve the efficiency of irrigation systems and to shift times of electricity use also qualify, such as automated control systems, and the installation of advanced metering and telemetry equipment. Farmers can retrofit existing natural gas-powered equipment to burn alternative fuels, including "non-spec" natural gas.

Agricultural customers can learn more or request application forms from Fresno State University's Center for Irrigation Technology, toll-free at (866) 297-3029, by FAX at 559-278-6033, or by e-mail at pcanessa@csufresno.edu.

Agencies that deliver water to agricultural customers and remove water from agricultural lands should direct their questions or get application forms from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo's Irrigation Training and Research Center, at (805) 756-7408, by FAX at (805) 756-2433, or by e-mail at sgartner@calpoly.edu.

Forms can also be downloaded from the California Energy Commission's Web Site at www.energy.ca.gov/ag.

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