Natural gas helps farmers save money and helps California meet clean air and renewable energy goals

Feb 14, 2017 No Comments by

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 13, 2017 – Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) will once again highlight innovative natural gas technologies at the 50th Annual World Agricultural (Ag) Expo, Feb. 14 -16, at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, California. Also known as “The Farm Show,” the three-day event is the largest event of its kind—and SoCalGas is one of its original participants.

SoCalGas’ booth will be located at H and Meridian streets at the event and will feature:

·       information on how repowering irrigation wells from diesel  or electric to natural gas can reduce pumping costs by more than half;

·       a live renewable natural gas demonstration showing how dairy waste can be converted into usable energy;

·       a long-haul semi-truck equipped with Cummins-Westport’s new 400 horsepower 11.9-liter engine shown to reduce harmful emissions by 90 percent; and

·       information about how on-site distributed generation can use agricultural waste or excess heat to replace power from the electric utility.

 

“Clean, affordable natural gas can help farmers save money and will help California meet its clean air and renewable energy goals,” said Lisa Alexander, SoCalGas’ vice president of customer solutions and communications.  “We’re proud to offer affordable, low-cost natural gas to farmers in our service territory, and it’s exciting to see how we can help this very important industry save money, energy, and water by using natural gas.”

An increasing number of area growers have been repowering their irrigation wells from diesel to natural gas. The savings are significant and some growers have already realized one-year paybacks on their engine purchases. And, at roughly half the cost, natural gas is still a cost-effective alternative to using electricity for irrigation.

As the need for groundwater pumping increased during California’s historic drought, SoCalGas partnered with area farmers by installing dozens of new services and meters to serve irrigation wells. Natural gas is the lowest-cost energy alternative for water pumping over the past decade and more cost effective than electricity and diesel.  For instance, to power a150-horsepower irrigation well, at current market prices, the hourly costs are: $20.40 for an electric motor; $18.45 for a diesel engine; and $8.63 for a natural gas engine.

SoCalGas continues to help its customers identify and implement other energy saving projects as well. Last year alone, SoCalGas returned more than $500,000 in energy efficiency funds to food processing customers in the San Joaquin Valley. These projects included: heat recovery at a dairy processing plant; equipment modernization in a nut processing plant; pump efficiency improvements and other efforts.

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