Wy’East Awarded National Conservation Innovation Grant Expect Energy Savings Up to 30 Percent


Wy’East Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) announce the award of a $163,000 National Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) from Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  This funding will allow Wy’East to work with Oregon Agriculture Producers and optimize Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) used for irrigation pumping stations.  This could potentially result in substantial energy savings for local producers.  Improvements made under this project will allow for additional electrical energy savings of 10% to 30%.

Wy’East RC&D is a Central Oregon based non-profit leading the way in agriculture energy conservation.  For the past (3) years Wy’East RC&D has worked together with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and Public Electrical Utilities to promote a program aptly named  “Save Water Save Energy.”

According to Wy’East Executive Director and Oregon RC&D Energy Program Manager Robert Wallace, the funding from this CIG grant will be used to help Agricultural Producers who are already operating Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) for irrigation pumping systems.  The focus of work will take these existing VFD’s and “tune” or “optimize” them to save additional energy.  Work will begin immediately and continue for the next (3) years.  Project locations will be identified this winter, and instrumentation will be installed on the existing VFD systems by the beginning of the 2013 irrigation season.  Wy’East will be working together with Northwest Energy Engineering LLC on this project.

Wallace states “We see thousands of dollars being spent on very sophisticated VFD systems that are not being operated to their full potential. This project will be able to measure energy usage without a VFD, with VFD, and with a VFD optimized.”  Instruction and tools would be generated to educate the agriculture sector on best practices to maximize VFD efficiencies for optimal energy conservation. This information will benefit agriculture energy conservation efforts throughout all regions.

About Wy’East:

The Wy’East mission is to invest in people, partnership and resources that achieve solutions leading to a sustainable future in Central and North Central Oregon.  Wy’East has locations in both The Dalles and Redmond, Oregon and employs strategies that protect, restore, enhance and sustain both communities and natural resources.  You can find additional information about Wy’East at www.wyeast-rcd.org.

About the Conservation Innovation Grant Program:

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) is a voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging the Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural protection.

CIG enables NRCS to work with other public and private entities to accelerate technology transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches to address some of the Nation’s most pressing natural resource concerns. CIG will benefit agricultural producers by providing more options for environmental enhancement and compliance with Federal, State, and local regulations. NRCS administers CIG.


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