The Challenge

One of the world’s largest wineries located in California was operating their multi-system refrigeration plant with refrigeration equipment and controls which utilized less efficient means of capacity adjustment than today’s equipment offerings. With eight large refrigeration systems in place, this left the possibility of significant energy savings, and by extension an opportunity to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

The challenge was to first identify which equipment should be prioritized for replacement based on historical refrigeration loads and operational efficiencies. The second step was to develop a plan with the customer that allowed for implementation over multiple years to best fit within.

The Solution

VaCom has been assisting this customer for over a decade by implementing energy efficiency measures through controls upgrades and subsequent performance monitoring using their web based software EnergyDashboard®. This performance data was leveraged to get a clear picture of historical loads and energy usage for all eight independent refrigeration systems operating at the facility. This was then used to develop an hourly simulation model to quantify the energy savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions associated with updating equipment and controls, including implementation of VFD capacity controls.

VaCom has an accomplished history of successfully working with California’s electric utilities and California’s food & beverage plant owners in identifying, implementing, and measuring & validating energy efficiency opportunities. It is due to these credentials that VaCom recognized the Food Production Investment Program within the California Energy Commission as an ideal opportunity to accomplish the goals of this customer.

The Results

VaCom was hired by the customer to develop a turnkey FPIP grant application on their behalf. Through the analysis of real data coupled with detailed energy modeling, VaCom identified specific opportunities with the biggest impact on energy savings and greenhouse gas reduction. The scope and benefits of the project were documented in a concise and effectively written grant application to the California Energy Commission.

The application was reviewed by the CEC, and accepted. One hundred percent of the more than $900,000 applied for grant was awarded by the California Energy Commission to the customer to aid in completing the project. The estimated annual electricity savings is approximately 1 million kWh and eliminating the equivalent of 200 metric tons of CO2 emissions.

Upon completion of the project, the customer will have further modernized their wine production operation, reduced their GHG emissions, and taken another step along the path to continuous improvement.

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