California Energy Commission (CEC) Awards $2.9 Million to Polaris Energy Services for Grid Responsive Irrigation Automation

CEC and Polaris will incentivize California growers to automate hundreds of irrigation pumps, tap into the agricultural sector's operational flexibility and deliver 25 to 40 Megawatts of load that can be shed or shifted in response to price signals and emergency dispatches from California's grid to increase reliability and decarbonization.

Automated Irrigation System

Polaris Energy Services, the leader in Agricultural Demand Flexibility, announced today that the California Energy Commission approved a $2.9 million agreement for Polaris to deploy irrigation automation systems that are responsive to the power grid at subsidized or no cost to farmers.

The myPOLARIS web and mobile apps enable agricultural energy users to minimize energy costs and access incentives and revenue from the grid by responding to price signals and demand response events using Polaris' Pump Automation Controller (PAC) and other leading irrigation control systems. In the wake of the 2020 Heat Storm, the CEC tapped Polaris to develop a follow-on project to its EPIC study, "Technologies and Strategies for Agricultural Load Management to Meet Decarbonization Goals," because of its demonstrated success in shifting irrigation pumping load from peak hours.

Commissioners were enthusiastic about the leading role that irrigation pumping can play in managing California's grid. Commissioner Andrew McAllister said, "Water pumping is really the perfect manageable load because ... you can really provide the service you need ... and there's a lot of water pumping throughout the state, so I think ... this will have a big impact."  Commissioner Siva Gunda added, "I watched a couple of testimonies from the [previous] project participants. I'm just incredibly thrilled with the opportunity here as ... there's close to a gigawatt of opportunity in Load Flex here. There was a huge load shift last year [in Polaris' prior CEC project] during critical net peak hours, which is becoming harder and harder for California."

David Meyers, Polaris' CEO, said, "We appreciate the Commission's support during the last three years of research and development and their trust in us to help address California's reliability and decarbonization challenges. In addition to spurring tens of megawatts of load shed and load shift, this Agreement will facilitate Polaris' continued participation in--and contribution to--the development of load management standards and technologies, including CEC's MIDAS project. The technology will be deployed in disadvantaged areas, bringing economic benefits and upskilling to the companies and workers there. Through this partnership, we can make real progress toward the goal of fully integrating agricultural pumping as a grid resource in California."

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Source: Polaris Energy Services

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