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Project Info ACTIVE Project Title

Smart Controls for Data-Driven Indoor Agriculture Field Evaluation

Project Number ET23SWE0067 Organization SWE (Statewide Electric ETP) End-use Process Loads Sector Agricultural Project Year(s) 2023 - 2025
This project will explore the market potential and evaluate the impact of smart controls technologies on Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), which involves the cultivation and manufacturing of food and floriculture products. The focus is on automated, integrated, and intelligent environmental (HVAC, lighting, and crop irrigation and nutrient management) controls technologies used in indoor and greenhouse CEA facilities in California.   The project will investigate environmental CEA controls capable of:   Automation: Hardware and software that optimize individual CEA systems and reduce demand and energy use by implementing control strategies for lighting, HVAC, and irrigation systems, such as scheduling, dimming, daylighting, temperature and humidity optimization, staging and modulation of pumps and fans, and demand management.   Integration: Hardware and software that optimize connected CEA systems, including lighting, heating, ventilation, cooling, and irrigation/fertigation, to reduce demand and energy use.   Artificial Intelligence: Hardware and software systems incorporating cameras and sensing technologies that utilize machine learning to optimize resource use based on plant growth and quality characteristics, including light levels, temperature, humidity, and airflow, and irrigation flowrates.   The project includes a market assessment, field evaluations, and a technology roadmap to identify cost-effective energy efficiency and demand response measures for smart environmental controls in the CEA sector. The deliverables will identify cost-effective measures and present program offerings, including the need for new or updated measure packages.   The market assessment will investigate smart controls adoption, technology penetration, and energy savings potential using literature review, surveys, interviews, and site visits. The technology demonstration will improve emerging smart CEA controls technologies and recommend measures for program adoption through pilot deployments in greenhouses and indoor farms which will assess existing products and recommend measures for adoption within program channels. This new technology roadmap for smart CEA controls will evaluate environmental controls technologies with the highest potential for energy savings and demand response, identify and propose paths to address market barriers, and provide intervention strategies for market implementation.
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The ETCC is funded in part by ratepayer dollars and the California IOU Emerging Technologies Program, the IOU Codes & Standards Planning & Coordination Subprograms, and the Demand Response Emerging Technologies (DRET) Collaborative programs under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. The municipal portion of this program is funded and administered by Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.