Opportunities for Automated Demand Response in California Agricultural Irrigation
Pumping water for agricultural irrigation represents a significant share of California's annual electricity use and peak demand. It also represents a large source of potential flexibility, as farms possess a form of storage in their wetted soil. By carefully modifying their irrigation schedules, growers can participate in demand response without adverse effects on their crops. This report describes the potential for participation in demand response and automated demand response by agricultural irrigators in California, as well as barriers to widespread participation. The report first describes the magnitude, timing, location, purpose, and manner of energy use in California. Typical on-farm controls are discussed, as well as common impediments to participation in demand response and automated demand response programs. Case studies of demand response programs in California and across the country are reviewed, and their results along with overall California demand estimates are used to estimate statewide demand response potential. Finally, recommendations are made for future research that can enhance the understanding of demand response potential in this industry.