Microgrids & Winemaking: The Perfect Pairing Sponsored Article
- January 13 2023
- Category: eNews
- Tags: 2023
Safeguard Sustainable Operations With a Microgrid
The winemaking industry is facing unprecedented challenges in today’s global economy and climate. Supply chain and logistics nightmares cause production and fulfillment delays, while droughts and other extreme weather wreak catastrophic effects on crops. As if this weren’t enough, another major winery expense is due for a significant increase in 2023: electricity.
As electricity prices continue to rise, many are turning to energy efficiency measures and onsite renewable energy systems such as microgrids to relieve utility costs. Microgrids can help vineyards take energy savings to the next level by integrating multiple distributed energy technologies like solar and battery energy storage, while also providing back-up power that ensures resilient operations for the future.
The Increasing Burden of Electricity
Electricity prices have been creeping up for decades, but this past year alone, the average retail price for the Commercial sector jumped 18.2%from 11.32 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in Q4 2021 to 13.38 cents per kWh in Q3 2022. For wineries, which heavily depend on large amounts of energy for refrigeration, irrigation, processing, and more, today’s electricity costs can be crippling. A mid-sized winery may consume roughly 600,000 kWh per year, which translates to more than $80,000 in electricity costs alone! Unfortunately, experts agree that this trend will only continue, spurred by global macro trends and the increased need for grid infrastructure upgrades.
In California, these rate increases are even more severe. To reduce wildfires started by outdated equipment, California electric utilities have been given the green light to bury underground over 10,000 miles of transmission lines over the next several years. These costs will be primarily funded by ratepayers, causing unprecedented year-over-year rate increases for customers that already pay some of the highest rates in the country.
In addition to rapidly growing prices, our electric grid is becoming increasingly unreliable. In the West, capacity constraints and wildfire or other extreme weather mitigation programs result in unplanned outages most likely to occur between June and November, which are critical months for the agriculture industry. Frankly, power outages at any time of the year can disrupt key processes, especially those that are temperature-controlled or time sensitive.
Sustainable Practices in Wineries
Wineries all over the world are increasingly adopting environmentally and socially responsible grape growing and winemaking practices in every stage of viticulture, viniculture, packaging, and distribution. This trend is driven in part by growing customer demand for sustainability-focused brands, as well as the fact that many of these practices can actually result in healthier grapes and higher-quality wines.
In addition to supporting carbon reduction, renewable energy and energy storage technologies can help wineries reduce costs and safeguard against the increasingly frequent instances of extreme and unseasonable weather that is causing water shortages and devastating crop yields. In particular, microgrids – smart interconnected energy systems – can mitigate these issues by providing facilities with predictable, lower energy prices and uninterrupted power through grid outages.
Scale: Your Microgrid Partner
Scale Microgrids is a leading distributed energy company that develops and finances microgrids optimized to meet the unique needs of each winery. As a full stack vertically-integrated provider, we tap into our team’s diverse energy expertise to lead every step of the process and deliver turnkey solutions.
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