Demand response helped CMV farms shave 40 per cent off their energy rates

Established in 1981, CMV Farms currently farm more than 1,300 hectares of almonds, pistachios and wine grapes. Utilising demand response helped CMV Farms achieve 40 per cent below market average energy rates1 at five out of its six sites.

Like many food and beverage businesses, CMV Farms were locked into a fixed-term, three-year energy contract. At the end of this contract Agribusiness Manager, Ryan Norton contacted Flow Power to review the company’s energy consumption and spend, and propose a solution that would suit its future growth plans.

“Our fixed-term contract with another provider worked well for us, but as energy prices soared and we were coming out of contract, we had to look for alternative options that better supported our business. Speaking with Flow Power made us realise that there were options available that could help us gain better control over our energy use and costs,” said Norton.

CMV Farms’ most energy-intensive operation is pumping water, yet this is also it’s most critical. Pumping requires over 2,500 kWh of energy across its operations.

“Flow Power helped us to better understand the wholesale energy market and how to read the market signals, so we can strategise on how best to manage possible events to control our energy use through employing demand response management” said Norton.

Demand response rewards businesses for changing the way they use power. By using power when there is less demand on the energy grid, businesses can avoid high energy rates and increased tariffs. This can be as simple as changing when you use power, or reducing power usage for a short period of time during a high-demand event.

Flow Power has engineers constantly monitoring the energy market, if an event is predicted, an alert is sent out to customers to give them time to make any necessary changes to their energy use. This process can also be automated with Flow Power’s kWatch device.

“We use demand response because our operations are flexible and large cost savings can be made. For instance, in high temperatures [when energy demands are typically high], we tailor our irrigation operations by shortening our water patterns,” said Norton.

Demand response enabled CMV Farms to make the most of its flexible operations just in time for the record-breaking temperatures of January 2019 that swept the country.

“Our training on the market signals familiarised us with AEMO’s notification process and what could trigger an event. We were all ready to completely cut pumping operations as soon as notifications went out. The system worked really well… we’re very confident of making big savings by responding to the spot market.” said Norton.

Demand response is not only a great way to save on energy costs, it also supports the energy grid and avoids blackouts. That’s why the South Australian Government is backing Flow Power’s ‘Building Intelligent Demand Response’ program, which aims to advance the use of demand response and distributed energy resources by providing funding for set-up costs to eligible SA businesses.

To find out more about wholesale energy and how your business could benefit from demand response, visit the Flow Power website.

1 When compared to the time-weighted average energy spot price for the same period in Victoria and South Australia.