Queensland farmers can now apply to receive a free energy efficiency audit to help cut power bills as part of the Queensland Government’s $10 million Energy Savers Plus Program.

Minister for Energy, Dr Anthony Lynham, said the extended program would provide energy efficiency solutions for up to 200 farms across Queensland to help drive down power bills.

“Following the success of the program’s first phase, delivered in partnership with the Queensland Farmers Federation and Ergon Energy, applications are now open for phase two for farmers to receive a free energy audit and up to $20,000 to help implement energy saving measures,” Dr Lynham said.

“These energy audits are worth their weight in gold as farmers will receive thousands of dollars’ worth of professional advice for free.

“The energy savings opportunities identified for Austchilli is just one example from almost a hundred cases in which farmers saved thousands of dollars each thanks to audits identifying efficiencies to cut their power bills.

“In the first phase of the Energy Savers Plus program, Ergon Energy delivered energy audits for almost 100 Queensland primary producers, resulting in $1.5 million in annual power savings to date.

“The Energy Savers Plus program is part of our $2 billion Affordable Energy Plan which is enabling families, community groups, businesses and farmers to save on their power bills, lowering the cost of living and business.”

As a previous participant of the program, Austchilli – the largest chilli company in Australia – had cut its power bills by an estimated $21,000 each year.

Austchilli general manager, Ian Gaffel, said the company had been able to reduce its power usage per kilogram of product out the door, in both its farming and manufacturing operations while substantially growing the business.

“It is a great outcome for us to have independent professional advice that has enabled me to focus on a prioritised series of cost savings for the business.

“We took the recommendations from the audit and implemented both the variable speed drives on the irrigation motors and commenced an LED light replacement program,” Mr Gaffel said.

“We also decided to go above and beyond the audit recommendation to install additional rooftop solar.

“These measures see us now replacing 27 per cent of our energy usage with renewables which has contributed to growing the business by some 30 per cent.

“I would encourage every Queensland primary producer to check their electricity usage and take advantage of the Energy Savers Program.”

QFF President, Stuart Armitage, said that the Energy Savers Program was an important resource for Queensland farmers to help them identify and implement energy efficiency practices for their businesses.

“More than 60 per cent of the 130 farms participating in the previous Energy Savers Program are implementing or planning to implement the energy cost savings identified,” Mr Armitage said.

Applications close 29 May 2018.

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