REGIONAL: Farm receives national grant for transformational technology

Published 3:17 pm Thursday, May 20, 2021

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Through a partnership with Pee Dee Electric and North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, White Rocks Farms of Marshville has received a $25,000 grant from the Beneficial Electrification League, an innovation-focused national collaborative.

The grant will deploy industry-leading electric technology to save money for the farm and reduce emissions, while also making the electric grid more robust and serving as a test case for future projects nationwide.

“It is very rewarding for Pee Dee Electric to assist White Rock Farms in obtaining this grant, which provides an affordable and environmentally friendly solution to a need they had at their
farm,” stated Pee Dee Electric CEO and Executive Vice President Donnie Spivey. “This project also stands to demonstrate how this emerging technology is not only viable but a winning solution for all involved.”

White Rock Farms will partner with Pee Dee Electric and North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives to convert an animal waste lagoon pumping system from a diesel engine to a large single-phase electric motor. The single-phase motor will provide a more affordable electrification option than the typical three-phase power used to manage livestock wastes. By utilizing a 60
horsepower single-phase motor and pump combination the motor will operate more cleanly and efficiently and will require less maintenance and manpower.

“If you live in an area served by a single-phase distribution system and you need a big motor, you have limited options: Bring in three-phase power, which can be cost prohibitive, use a
phase converter or bring in a diesel engine to do the work,” said Jim Musilek, director of Innovation and Business Development for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “This new option — using a large-horsepower single-phase electric motor — is a game changer, and in this case it’s a winner for everyone involved. White Rock Farms will save on diesel fuel, have less
down time and more productivity. Local emissions will be virtually eliminated, and Pee Dee Electric and North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives will be able to demonstrate that this
technology is a viable option.”

White Rock Farms is one of five organizations across the country to receive part of $100,000 in funding offered through the Beneficial Electrification League. Beneficial electrification describes the transition to using electric power in place of fossil fuels, providing a wide range of benefits from improved energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions to cost savings and increased productivity. As technology advances, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, including Pee Dee Electric, are exploring opportunities to electrify devices, equipment and processes and make them more efficient, smarter and cheaper.

“Not only will the new pump allow for cost savings, but it will also be another step towards the goal of being carbon neutral or better. We want to utilize new technologies like this so our farm
can be a model for future farmers who are looking to integrate similar practices,” said Roddy Purser of White Rock Farms. “We are proud to have been selected as one of the Beneficial Electrification League’s grant recipients this year and appreciate the research and dedication put in by all parties involved.”

White Rock Farms is a locally owned and operated dairy, swine, poultry, and goat operation in the southernmost part of Pee Dee Electric’s service territory. Being located on the outermost boundary of Pee Dee’s rural seven-county service territory, the farm is supplied by single-phase power.

Pee Dee Electric is a not-for-profit cooperative whose goal is to provide reliable, dependable electric service for its members while focusing on value, quality customer service, and enhancing life in the communities we serve. Pee Dee’s service area consists of Anson, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond, Scotland, Stanly and Union counties. For more information
about Pee Dee Electric, visit