23 September 2019 – In an Australian first, the CEFC and the National Farmers Federation (NFF) have collaborated to back ready-made clean energy solutions for Australian farmers, with the twin goals of increasing on-farm efficiency and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
In a practical new guide for Australia’s 85,000 farming enterprises, the CEFC and the NFF have identified 51 opportunities where farmers can reduce their energy bills by improving energy efficiency and switching to renewables.
The investment commitments start at under $10,000, making them cost effective at a time of farm stress and drought.
CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said: “We are delighted to work with the National Farmers’Federation in developing this important guide for Australia’s farmers, who have a well- deserved reputation for innovation and land care. The solutions can help farming businesses better manage their energy costs, increase their efficiency and lower their carbon emissions.
“Already more than 1,100 agriculture projects are drawing on $260 million in CEFC financeto invest in solar PV, lower emissions farm equipment, energy efficient machinery upgrades and biomass energy-from-waste.
“This guide is another exciting way we are bringing the substantial benefits of one of our newest industries, clean energy, to one of our most established, agriculture.”
NFF CEO Tony Mahar said: “Together with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, we aim to present forward-looking solutions to help Australian farmers manage rising energy costs.
“This guide collates information on proven and emerging technologies. It establishes howfarmers can reduce their energy consumption and lower emissions, using realistic cost estimates.
“Clean energy leads to greater efficiencies and productivity, and an overall lower emissionsprofile for the agribusiness sector. We believe this guide will help Australian farmers lower their energy bills, reduce their emissions footprint and ultimately, be more productive andcompetitive.”
The potential energy efficiency technologies range from variable speed drives and smart controls to best-in-class tractors and refrigeration equipment. Renewable energy solutions include increasingly cost-effective solar PV as well as on-farm microgrids, which are particularly relevant in remote areas or where network connections are expensive.
The guide – Transforming Australian Agriculture with Clean Energy – draws on the work ofthe University of Southern Queensland’s Centre for Agricultural Engineering.
While energy consumption patterns vary across farming enterprises and production systems, the guide finds that there are significant opportunities for farm operations to immediately reduce energy consumption as well as lower energy related emissions. The challenge for the sector is to understand the available options, the scale of the potential investment and the potential emissions savings.
The guide sets out seven steps for farmers to embrace clean energy (see box). Presented in an easy-to-read dashboard format, the 51 technology solutions include:
- Simple improvements to irrigation, heating, cooling and vehicle fuel efficiency – typically requiring an investment of $5,000 or less
- New strategies to generate and store energy such as small-scale wind, solar PV and hydroelectric systems – typically requiring an investment of up to $25,000
- Emerging technologies such as microgrids, biomass generation, precision application and digital sensors, robots and drones which have the potential to revolutionise farming practice.
You can read the full report on the CEFC website.