Policy & Regulatory Shifts Opening Door for Agriculture Microgrids, More in California

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Agricultural regions don’t always have robust electrical infrastructure, fast internet and other key services needed for manufacturers and large businesses to remain competitive. So operating at the grid edge has become “an increasingly risky proposition,” particularly for agricultural and food processing companies in California, according to a new report from Concentric Power.

agriculture microgrids

Download the full report.

As aforementioned, the quality and stability of the energy is often poor in agricultural regions. And to compound this issue, that same energy is often unpredictable, although rates continue to rise.

No incident in recent years has brought this issue into more focus than the recent Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events from PG&E, which the utility said are implemented when “gusty wind and dry conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk, are forecasted.”

“For California’s ag industry, especially at the grid edge, the feasibility of maintaining the status quo is lessening by the day.” — Concentric Power

And as the risk of wildfires continues to spike, these PSPS events are becoming “a new normal” for California residents and businesses, the Concentric white paper points out.

“For many decades, the utility industry has operated largely under the legacy structure of centralized power generation that is delivered using the existing transmission and distribution system,” Concentric Power says.

But the tides are turning. Tech innovation, lower costs and new market-based business models have many large food processing and farming-centered companies considering the option of agriculture microgrids.

Recent advancements in energy techn0logy, microgrid controllers and more make microgrids an attractive option to improve energy resiliency across sectors, while California lawmakers are shifting policies and regulations to allow new energy business models to gain traction.

Combined, these trends have bolstered the outlook of microgrids in the state.

The full report covers the following topics in detail:

  • Defining the problem: Operating at the grid edge 
  • The last straw: PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs 
  • Microgrids as a solution 
  • Public policy is shifting 

Download the new report, “Agriculture on the Grid Edge: How the California Public Safety Power Shutoffs Broke the Camel’s Back,”  from Concentric Power that asserts microgrids and DERs will play an increasingly important role in California’s energy mix.

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  1. […] Companies in California are considering agricultural microgrids thanks to tech innovation, lower costs, and new market-based business models. (Microgrid […]