California is the largest agricultural producer in the United States, followed by Iowa and Texas. The top three agricultural commodities produced in California are milk, almonds, and grapes. California is also the primary exporter of many agricultural commodities in the United States and supplies over 99% of the following commodities: almonds, artichokes, dates, raisins, and walnuts. The crop varieties grown in California are constantly fluctuating based on consumer demand, market prices, and weather restrictions. In 2015, California generated $47 billion in revenue from agriculture commodities, down from $56 billion in 2014.

One of the biggest challenges in the agriculture industry in California is water availability. California experiences recurring droughts, which cause significant strain on the agriculture industry. With challenges come opportunities for unique solutions, which is where energy and water efficiency come into play.

In recent years, the Alliance has conducted multiple studies with an agriculture focus to target the many challenges faced by the agriculture sector in California. For example, in January of 2016 the Alliance published a report called New Opportunities for Energy Efficiency in California Agriculture. The key opportunities include greenhouse retrocommissioning, rebates for condensing boilers for soil warming, post-harvest processing audits, greenhouse-specific rebates, and water treatment and recycling.

In November of 2016, the Alliance released the Urban Agriculture Guidebook, which identified energy efficiency opportunities for urban farms in Los Angeles. The agriculture industry in California is constantly evolving, and the Alliance aims to keep a pulse on the challenges, best practices, and opportunities for energy and water efficiency.

  • Greenhouse Growers Sustainability Forum

  • Greenhouse Growers Sustainability Forum

    On November 6, 2013 the California Sustainability Alliance held a forum for the Southern California Gas Company’s (SCG) greenhouse, floriculture and horticulture customers in Santa Barbara, CA. Fourteen participants from twelve growing operations participated at the forum. The half-day forum included a presentation on the science of sustainable soil, three best practices presentations by growers, and break-out discussion sessions.

    The primary goal of the forum was to “listen” to the growers to A) determine what is their current level of use and acceptance of energy efficient practices, and B) assess which of their needs are opportunities that SCG could address.

    The Alliance report entitled Sustainability Forum for Greenhouse, Floriculture and Horticulture Customers documents the presentations, discussion and general conclusions of the forum. The report documents key recommendations from participants regarding potential improvements to utility programs. These recommendations include:

    • Streamline the paper work and reduce the processing time needed to qualify for and receive utility rebates and incentives
    • Provide more technical and design information, including pre-engineering support, and increase financial support for advanced energy and water efficiency technologies
    • Provide more support to qualify cogeneration and alternative energy projects
    • Increase utility support of agriculture customers by increasing account executive support and offering regular grower forums
    • Team up pump and irrigation specialists with utility account executives to conduct more audits and field operation reviews
    • Provide help to perform financial analysis for energy efficiency projects

    Download the full report for more recommendations and additional details.