The relationship between irrigation-induced electrical loads and antecedent weather conditions in Tasmania, Australia

Tom Latham, Christopher J. White, Tomas A. Remenyi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Over the past decade in Australia, there has been a general trend towards the introduction of electrical motors to operate irrigation pumps. While electrical motors provide many advantages over the alternatives, electrical loads can aggregate in some areas to become large peaks, which challenge the existing electrical distribution networks. This is especially true during extreme hot or dry periods, when irrigators collectively demand significant electrical resources at the same time. While there is an inherent link between weather conditions and the amount of electricity used for irrigation, this relationship is poorly understood. Previous studies have either focused on localised data related to concurrent temperature, rainfall and soil moisture, or they have annualised summaries over large areas. In this study, we compare intensive irrigation periods with the drought factor at a case study irrigation scheme in Tasmania, Australia, finding a strong relationship between electrical load and periods when the drought factor is > 6. This relatively simple relationship may be useful for managers of electricity supply and distribution, managers of water resources, and irrigators, as it may be used to minimise the risk of exceeding the capacity of the electricity network, improve water availability and optimise irrigation scheduling.
LanguageEnglish
Pages1-12
Number of pages12
JournalIrrigation Science
Early online date26 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Mar 2018

Fingerprint

Irrigation
Electricity
Drought
Managers
Soil moisture
Water resources
Electric power distribution
Rain
Scheduling
Availability
Pumps
Water
Temperature

Keywords

  • electrical & electronics engineering
  • irrigation
  • climate change
  • weather forecasting
  • water resource management
  • Australia
  • Tasmania
  • drought

Cite this

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title = "The relationship between irrigation-induced electrical loads and antecedent weather conditions in Tasmania, Australia",
abstract = "Over the past decade in Australia, there has been a general trend towards the introduction of electrical motors to operate irrigation pumps. While electrical motors provide many advantages over the alternatives, electrical loads can aggregate in some areas to become large peaks, which challenge the existing electrical distribution networks. This is especially true during extreme hot or dry periods, when irrigators collectively demand significant electrical resources at the same time. While there is an inherent link between weather conditions and the amount of electricity used for irrigation, this relationship is poorly understood. Previous studies have either focused on localised data related to concurrent temperature, rainfall and soil moisture, or they have annualised summaries over large areas. In this study, we compare intensive irrigation periods with the drought factor at a case study irrigation scheme in Tasmania, Australia, finding a strong relationship between electrical load and periods when the drought factor is > 6. This relatively simple relationship may be useful for managers of electricity supply and distribution, managers of water resources, and irrigators, as it may be used to minimise the risk of exceeding the capacity of the electricity network, improve water availability and optimise irrigation scheduling.",
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The relationship between irrigation-induced electrical loads and antecedent weather conditions in Tasmania, Australia. / Latham, Tom; White, Christopher J.; Remenyi, Tomas A.

In: Irrigation Science, 26.03.2018, p. 1-12.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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