Funds Available for Energy Management in the Dairy Industry

The California Energy Commission (CEC) is accepting applications for the 2021 Advancing and Commercializing Energy Efficiency in California’s Industrial, Agricultural, and Water Sector (ACEE) Program with $9 million total available.  The deadline to submit applications is March 8, 2021.

What are the goals of this program?

The purpose of this grant opportunity is to identify and demonstrate emerging electricity saving technologies that can directly reduce electricity use and GHG and other emissions in the dairy industry (dairy industry in this instance includes industries in the milk and cheese processing lifecycle: dairy farms, production of milk, cheese, and associated products, whey processing, etc.), and perform technology transfer to more broadly share the outcome of the research and enable further adoption by dairies and other industries.

The goal is to make the technology applicable and useable for other dairies and industrial operations beyond those participating as a demonstration site under this solicitation.

Who is eligible to apply for this program?

This solicitation is open to all public and private entities with the exception of local publicly owned electric utilities

What are the project requirements?
  1. Projects must fall within the “technology demonstration and deployment” stage, which involves the installation and operation of pre-commercial technologies or strategies at a scale sufficiently large and in conditions sufficiently reflective of anticipated actual operating environments to enable appraisal of operational and performance characteristics, and of financial risks. California Public Resources Code Section 25711.5(a) requires EPIC-funded projects to:
    • Benefit electricity ratepayers; and
    • Lead to technological advancement and breakthroughs to overcome the barriers that prevent the achievement of the state’s statutory energy goals.
  2. To maximize the impact of EPIC projects and to promote the further development and deployment of EPIC-funded technologies, a minimum of 5 percent of CEC funds requested should go towards technology transfer activities.
  3. The Project Narrative must include a Measurement and Verification Plan that describes how actual project benefits will be measured and quantified, such as by identifying measurable and quantifiable project benefit metrics that are applicable to the project group(s).
What research projects are eligible?

Examples of research include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Software development and application of machine learning to control algorithms for optimization of electricity intensive processes (pumping, mixing, blending, refrigeration, etc.) in milk and cheese production and other related dairy operations.
  • Energy-efficient programming, to optimize electricity intensive equipment used in the dairy/agriculture industry.
  • Machine learning and cloud computing integration to optimize operations and production. This technology is intended to be used and result in benefits applicable to many similar sites, not just the specific demonstration site(s) under investigation as part of the proposed project.
  • Software and sensors to monitor for and identify leaks or losses of dairy process stream liquids and steam, electrical drawdowns, thermal leaks, compressed air and other electrical inefficiencies.
  • Integrated hardware and software solutions to identify key performance indicators (KPI) for specific electrically driven processes such as, but not limited to compressed air, refrigeration systems, pumps, fans, drive engines, mixers that will be tracked and improved using data analytics.  All these metrics must be documented in both the measurement and verification plan and the technology transfer plan (see Section II.B.4, Attachment 5 Scope of Work Template and Attachment 3 Project Narrative, Technical Approach, items f and g).
  • Identification of benefits, and development of best practices and analysis, to engage other dairies and industries based on research results.
What are the funding levels for this program?

There is $9 million in funding with a maximum award amount of $6 million and a minimum award amount of $1.5 million.

What is the match share requirement?

Match funding is required in the amount of at least 20 percent of the requested grant funds.

What is the anticipated award timeline?

Applications are due March 8, 2021 with awards expected to be posted the week of April 5, 2021.

The Program Solicitation Manual can be found here.

For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at or call us at 530-893-4764.


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