We have completed a new report that chronicles 30 years of air quality improvements in California Rice. It captures the story of reduced rice straw burning, use of cleaner-burning engines, and improvements in energy consumption to produce rice. In all, the report tells the story of an 80-90 percent reduction in major air pollutants and a 20 percent reduction in energy use (and related emissions) in this time frame.
The report quantifies the capacity of solar panels that have been installed at rice facilities. By the end of 2015, the total installed capacity of these solar projects was about 12 Megawatts, capable of generating about 24 million kilowatt-hours of solar power annually. This is equivalent to about 70 percent of the electricity used for drying and milling of California Rice and enough power to meet the needs of nearly 13.4 million households
The report includes an analysis of the timing of rice industry emissions relative to the periods of the worst air quality in the Sacramento region. It shows that emissions related to production of rice occur dominantly in the spring and fall periods, while the periods of the region’s highest concentrations of ozone and particulate matter pollution occur largely in the summer and winter seasons. This shows that these rice-related emissions likely have little or no impact on the peak periods of poor air quality in the region.