PG&E provides $450K grant for Fresno State

Fresno State FarmFresno State FarmPacific Gas and Electric Co. on Thursday presented a $450,000 grant to Fresno State farm operations for demonstration projects involving new water and energy management technologies.

The demonstrations will take place at the university’s new Agriculture-Water-Energy Center.

The presentation took place during the 2013 Bluetech Valley Conference on how water efficient technologies will secure future food supplies.

Robert Calrson, head of PG&E’s energy solutions and service, made the presentation that will help ag students and farmers throughout the area in learning better water and energy management techniques.

The grant comes at the right time for water savings through technology. The San Joaquin Valley is again going through a dry year and water allocations for farmers are coming up short of needs.

“A lot more innovation is needed,” said Vernon Crowder, senior vice president and agricultural economist for Robobank Food and Agribusiness Research Advisory Group speaking at the Bluetech Valley Conference. “There’s a lot we could do… it’s just an investment.”

Crowder added, “There are so many opportunities for entrepreneurs.”

With nearly 1,000 acres of irrigated farmland and other agricultural operations, the Fresno State Farm represents a microcosm of the San Joaquin Valley. With the money from PG&E, university officials and students will be able to demonstrate new water and energy technologies and management in a location easily accessible to the agriculture community.

Demonstrations will show how innovation can save on water and energy use. The university’s Center for Irrigation Technology will work with manufacturers to design, install and monitor groundbreaking water and energy saving system.