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, 118 farm audits have been completed showing large potential for farmers to reduce energy costs. So far, installation of solar on more than 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 has been a common area of interest among dairy farms.
Given the unique energy consumption needs of dairying, QDO has conducted the energy audits in two stages. The first phase Type 1 audits reviewed the total energy savings on farm. The current round of audits reviewing specific systems, mainly within the dairy itself, where farmers can benefit from further analysis and a potential system upgrades.
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 closed in March and final audits will be provided to participants by the end of May. Farmers then have a year to implement and submit their grant claim.
In the meantime, QDO and QFF are looking at alternative and perhaps improved energy saving programs through the Queensland government in the future.
If you would be interested in future Energy Saver type projects, please contact QDO.