$1.32 million in pilots to improve on-farm energy efficiency

11 Dec 2020

The NSW Government will invest $1.32 million in seven pilot projects across 10 separate sites focusing on energy solutions for intensive agriculture, Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall announced today.

Mr Marshall was joined by Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson at Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School in Tamworth today, which will receive funding for the electrification of its irrigation pumps, and said energy remains a significant input cost for the State’s producers.

“I want to see every advantage given to our farmers – especially when it comes to being more efficient at what they do best,” Mr Marshall said.

“The Energy Efficiency Solutions (EES) projects will help achieve this, because energy costs have a significant impact on profitability and global competitiveness.

“The Project is one of seven in the Climate Change Research Strategy, with funding of $4.7 million over four years, led by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to look at on-farm solutions.

“The pilot projects include solar thermal chilled water storage for milk cooling; electrification of irrigation pumps powered by a raised solar-panels which also shade pasture and livestock; solar panel and battery storage systems and much more.

“This is the best way to maximise returns for NSW agriculture, partnering with pioneering commercial partners, leveraging the research expertise of DPI and the frontline experience of our farmers.”

Mr Marshall said the pilot programs would demonstrate a variety of technological solutions at a range of farms located across NSW in energy intensive sub-sectors including dairy, horticulture and feedlots.

“They will provide real-world examples of innovative approaches to improving energy efficiency and reducing energy costs, while reducing risks associated with the early adoption of new technologies in agriculture,” Mr Marshall said.

“The NSW Government will contribute 50 per cent of the total project cost – coming to a total co-investment of $2,641,932.”

Mr Anderson said the pilot projects would yield long-term productivity and emissions benefits for NSW agriculture.

“I am delighted Farrer is playing an integral role in this pilot project with the NSW Government. That our school in regional NSW is playing such a big part in the future of our State’s agricultural industry is truly a great thing,” Mr Anderson said.

“All of these projects have huge potential to deliver real benefits to farmers across the State, but specifically, Farrer’s will see the electrification and improved solar tracking of irrigation pumps to demonstrate Agrivoltaics.

“Agrivoltaics is the co-use of land for both solar power and agriculture, and will be a technique used more and more into the future.”

A rigorous evaluation process was undertaken to select projects to participate in the pilot stage, this commenced with an initial public request for proposals in September 2019 for which 21 proposals were received.

The proposals were evaluated, and independent commercial feasibility assessments were undertaken with seven selected by an independent committee to proceed through to pilot. Each project and funding will be managed in accordance with NSW Government standards.

More information is available from the NSW DPI website www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/ccrs

Media contact: Luke O’Donnell | Minister Marshall | 0427 837 497, Angela Lyle | Mr Anderson | 0408 966 330