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BPA's agricultural sector offers a range of programs and measure opportunities to help customer utilities serve their agricultural consumers and meet their energy-efficiency goals. The agricultural sector offers a number of measures, including Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) for pumps, irrigation pump testing and system analysis, irrigation hardware upgrades, LED lighting, and custom project opportunities for dairies and wineries. Below are the highlights of BPA's agricultural program offers. Visit the Energy Efficiency Implementation Manual for full measure details.

Variable Frequency Drives ​
Variable Frequency Drives

VFDs can control the start-up and operational characteristics of a motor or pump/motor combination. By providing soft starts and slow ramp-up speeds, and slowing the pump speed to better match flow and pressure requirements of the irrigation system, VFDs are proven to substantially reduce energy use in irrigation pumps and potato or onion storage fan motors. Other VFD applications include air compressors and dairy vacuum pumps.

Irrigation Pump Testing and System Analysis​

An irrigation system analysis or pump test may identify opportunities to increase the efficiency of a pumping plant and irrigation delivery system. These opportunities include low-pressure conversion for center pivots and laterals, reduction of friction losses in piping, rebuild or replacement of inefficient pumps, and system redesign. Replacing inefficient pumps can save energy and increase pumping-plant performance.

​Irrigation Hardware Upgrades

Replacement or installation of high-efficiency irrigation equipmentincluding retrofits with regulators, drop tubes, and new sprinklers—can save water and energy, and may have other benefits. Repair of leaking hand lines, wheel lines, and portable mainlines can also save water and energy, and may improve uniformity.

Advanced Irrigation Strategies: LESA, LEPA, and More


Low Energy Precision Agriculture (LEPA) and Low Elevation Sprinkler Application (LESA) irrigation technologies were originally designed for center-pivot irrigation in areas with short water supply and high energy costs. These strategies have been very popular in the Midwest and Texas, and are now picking up in the Pacific Northwest. Farmers are taking advantage of programs to displace high-pressure sprinklers on top, and lowering the sprinkler closer to the ground with LESA, LEPA, and Mid-Elevation Sprinkler Application (MESA), or even on the ground with Mobile Drip Irrigation (MDI). Learn more about how you can save water, reduce pressure and energy requirements, and possibly improve uniformity.

Lighting​
LED lighting upgrades and  smart fixture controls are quite common and popular across industrial, commercial, and agricultural sectors. In addition to energy-cost savings between 25 and 70 percent, energy-efficient lighting upgrades can increase visual acuity and lighting-equipment life, improve security, and improve worker safety, productivity, and quality of work.
​Thermostatic Controls for Outlets and Stock Tank De-Icers
Heaters are often used to prevent freezing conditions in pump houses and stock tanks during cold winter months. Thermostatic controls manager operation of those heaters to ensure they prevent freezing pipes and tanks, and do not operate when freezing conditions have passed.
​Custom Projects


Farm buildings and systems are often highly complex and unique. For this reason, many agricultural energy-efficiency opportunities are best approached as custom projects. For these complex projects, BPA has a bench of Customer Service Engineers on hand to support customer utilities in identifying custom project opportunities for retrofit and new construction. If you think you have a project that qualifies for a custom approach, please contact your local utility.
Wineries ​
Wineries
With nearly 1,600 wineries and vineyards in the Pacific Northwest creating world-class wine, wineries are the fastest growing segment within the agriculture community. Energy-saving enhancements such as lighting upgrades, HVAC improvements, pipe insulation, compressed air system upgrades, refrigeration, and strategic use of pump, fan, and compressor VFDs are all eligible opportunities to save energy. 
 
​Dairies
With more than 1,100 dairies in the Pacific Northwest, dairies are very keen on keeping their assets at peak performance. Energy-saving enhancements such as lighting upgrades, VFD-driven compressed air, VFDs on pumps, wastewater treatment, heat exchangers and refrigerators are all opportunities to save energy.