Jan 10, 2020
Energy independence is topic at forum for growers in California

The Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology (WGCIT) and Concentric Power Inc., an energy technology company deploying power solutions for some of the country’s largest grower-shippers, will co-host the first-ever Salinas Valley Energy Forum to help growers and fresh food providers from California’s agricultural regions maintain productivity and improve profitability through energy independence. The Salinas Valley Energy Forum will be held at the Taylor Farms Curious Classroom on January 27, 2020, from 8:30-11:30 a.m.

The Forum will provide insights into how the region’s agricultural industry can overcome the instability in energy availability, reliability and pricing currently threatening California and beyond. The Forum will feature a panel of experts representing energy developers, government agencies and solution providers including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Monterey County Farm Bureau, the City of Gonzales, Schneider Electric and Concentric Power.

“Energy is a huge part of farming. In fact, everything done after harvest requires power,” said Dennis Donohue, director of the WGCIT. “Our members provide over half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, so it’s critically important we help them navigate the energy challenges currently facing the state.”

Following historic fire seasons that have bankrupted California’s largest energy utility and led to widespread Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) last Fall, unreliable and unstable energy is a major disruption to the agriculture industry. The cost of energy for ag companies is also unpredictable, having risen nearly 20 percent since the beginning of 2018 within the PG&E service territory.

“Technological advancements, business models, regulation changes and the low cost of capital have made energy independence a viable option,” said Brian Curtis, Concentric Power’s founder and CEO. “Many organizations simply don’t know that it can pencil out both economically and technically. With power shutoffs now happening year-round and utility rates continuing to rise, ag and other fresh food producers are finding that status quo is no longer an option.”

The Forum will be led by moderator Matthew Willis, vice president of product and business development at Concentric Power, and will feature Concentric Power’s Curtis along with Rick Sturtevant, state energy coordinator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Norm Groot, executive director at the Monterey County Farm Bureau; Rene Mendez, city manager for the City of Gonzales; and Gregg Morasca, vice president of strategic customers at Schneider Electric.

Forum attendees will learn:

  • What is happening across the state from an energy perspective
  • Local power options and solutions
  • How to execute energy projects at little to no upfront cost
  • How to invest in sustainable infrastructure
  • How Salinas Valley cities are improving and promoting economic development.

With offices in Salinas and Campbell, California, Concentric Power Inc. is a vertically integrated intelligent microgrid developer with a proven track record in agricultural, industrial, and community applications. A licensed Class A General Engineering Contractor, the company is focused on solving modern grid problems through its engineering, procurement, construction, operations and maintenance services. Concentric Power also employs O&M field technicians and works closely with their supply chain to bring world-class expertise, reliability and responsiveness to every project. 

Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico. Our members and their workers provide half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including half of America’s fresh organic produce. For generations we have provided variety and healthy choices to consumers. Connect with and learn more about Western Growers on our Twitter and Facebook


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