The Queensland government's Energy Savers Plus Program Extension has been a long-running program designed to identify and to improve energy efficiencies on farm. QDO has been working alongside Queensland Farmers' Federation and member organisations such as Growcom and Canegrowers, over a 12-month period.
Thirty dairy farmers are involved in the program from which they receive an energy audit to highlight cost-saving energy efficient options on their dairy or irrigation systems. Farmers are then able to use the audit to apply for a co-contribution grant of up to $20,000 from the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority.
While irrigation is the major energy consumable system across all farms, the inclusion of dairies in the program gives a different perspective to energy usage on farm, particularly with regards to refrigeration and water heating.
Along with other industry partners within the QFF Energy Savers team, 100 farm audits have been completed showing large potential for farmers to reduce energy costs. So far, installation of solar on over 80 farms has been recommended, with a total energy production of 1,767,156kWh. Recommendations have varied from farm to farm, but pre-cooling systems have been a common area of interest among dairy farms.
Given the unique energy consumption needs of dairying, QDO has had to conduct the energy audits in two stages, with the first phase, Type 1 audits, reviewing the total energy savings on farm, and the current round of audits reviewing specific systems, mainly within the dairy itself, where farmers can benefit from further analysis and a potential system overhaul.
The program also provides assistance for farmers to understand their energy use, bills and tariffs. As Ergon's farming tariffs will be obsolete from July 2021, this project has helped provide farmers in the scheme with information on what tariff is recommended.
The Energy Savers Plus Program Extension energy audits will be completed by May this year, and participants have a further 12 months to apply for QRIDA loans. In the meantime, QDO and QFF are looking at alternative and perhaps improved energy saving programs through the Queensland state government in the future.
If you would be interested in future Energy Saver type projects, contact QDO.