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Agricultural Peak Load Reduction Program

California Energy Commission


Date: 2001-2004
Location: California
Sponsor: California Energy Commission
Reports available: See sidebar




The Agricultural Peak Load Reduction Program (APLRP) was developed by the California Energy Commission (CEC) in early June 2001, under the authority of Section 5(b) of California Senate Bill 5x.  This legislation arose from the blackouts and brownouts that hit the state of California during the 2000-2001 winter, caused by a severe imbalance in electricity supply.  The primary goal of SB 5x was to reduce peak period electric demand throughout California. 

ITRC was contracted by CEC to administer the agricultural water agency portion of the APLRP.  ITRC was entrusted with all technical aspects of the program, including reviewing and approving all water agency APLRP applications, technical support, and verification of project completion and peak load reduction.  Because everything went through ITRC, massive amounts of red tape were eliminated and the program was able to run smoothly, quickly, and efficiently.

The Agricultural Peak Load Reduction Program had three main categories:



Category Description Examples of Projects
1 High Efficiency Electrical Equipment/
Other Overall Electricity Conservation Efforts
  • Expanding buffer reservoirs to supply water users during the peak period (12 p.m.-6 p.m. M-F)
  • Installing variable frequency drives (VFDs)
  • Replacing well casings
  • Other innovative solutions
2 Pump Efficiency Testing and Retrofit/Repair
  • Rebates for pump testing and retrofitting/repairs
  • Five ITRC-developed pump test training courses
3 Advanced Metering and Telemetry
  • Installation of advanced metering and/or telemetry
  • Grants for participating in California ISO Demand Relief Program


The ITRC-administered APLRP was extremely successful.  The program incorporated over 50 Megawatts of peak load reduction into Categories 1 and 3 of the program, and an additional estimated 16 million kilowatt-hours of energy will be saved per year through Category 2, for a $6.5 million total investment from the State of California.