Opportunities for Automated Demand Response in California's Dairy Processing Industry

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During periods of peak electrical demand on the energy grid or when there is a shortage of supply, the stability of the grid may be compromised or the cost of supplying electricity may rise dramatically, respectively. Demand response programs are designed to mitigate the severity of these problems and improve reliability by reducing the demand on the grid during such critical times. In 2010, the Demand Response Research Center convened a group of industry experts to suggest potential industries that would be good demand response program candidates for further review. The dairy industry was suggested due to the perception that the industry had suitable flexibility and automatic controls in place. The purpose of this report is to provide an initial description of the industry with regard to demand response potential, specifically automated demand response. This report qualitatively describes the potential for participation in demand response and automated demand response by dairy processing facilities in California, as well as barriers to widespread participation. The report first describes the magnitude, timing, location, purpose, and manner of energy use. Typical process equipment and controls are discussed, as well as common impediments to participation in demand response and automated demand response programs. Two case studies of demand response at dairy facilities in California and across the country are reviewed. Finally, recommendations are made for future research that can enhance the understanding of demand response potential in this industry.

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