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PowWow Energy turns smart electric meters into water meters


PowWow Energy, a Software-as-a-Service provider assisting farms turning data into simple answers, recently announced that its patent application for pump alerts and water records using energy data has been granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and that its method for measuring groundwater use meets the accuracy requirements under Title 23 of State of California regulations.

Already, 20,000 acres of farm land use the service today.

“The idea of using a recent pump test with electrical records is not new, but the relationship between power and water flow varies greatly over time. It is hard. We have seen a lot of farms try, and we wanted to help them. Farms are concerned with the mounting cost of meeting new regulations” stated Olivier Jerphagnon, CEO and founder of PowWow.

The deadline for forming Groundwater Sustainable Agencies in California is June 30, 2017, and monitoring requirements will be announced as a second step.

PowWow’s water measurement feature provides a simple solution to reporting water use. Farms do not need to install new telemetry equipment and they can leverage existing pump tests performed by a certified tester. Smart meters are already installed in California with telemetry to provide automated energy billing by power utilities. Smart meters have already been deployed by rate-payers, and a private innovation allows farms to get a secondary benefit for a device installed at their location.

The water measurement algorithm was deployed and tested at single speed and variable speed pumps in six groundwater basins during a two-year study funded by the California Energy Commission under the contract EPC-14-081. The mean error is 4 percent and the maximum error is less than 10 percent as required under Title 23 of the California Code of Regulation.

One advantage of using smart meters is that the privacy is already granted to farmers under the Smart Grid program. Only farmers can grant access to the energy data to a third-party using the Green Button standard managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The PowWow application is available on the websites of Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric under the “Share My Data” program. More utilities in the Western United States will be supported in the future.

PowWow is displaying the new service at the Innovation Showcase in Salinas during the Forbes AgTech Summit sponsored by the Western Growers Association and others this week. Available as a feature of the Pump Monitor product, growers will continue to receive text message alerts but will also now have the ability to download water records as easily as reading an email.

One current user and member of WGA is Don Cameron, General Manager of Terranova Ranch. “I needed a way to easily quantify how much water we were pumping out of the ground,” he said.

Together with its innovative groundwater recharge program during wet years, Terranova is looking at maintaining groundwater levels to sustainably farm for generations to come. “Technology companies and farms can innovate together, and PowWow showed us that they are willing to develop a simple solution to a real problem and be part of the agriculture community,” he concluded.

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