Irrigators having a field day with energy savings

The results of recent energy audits have been showcased at regional field days in Queensland, which provide information on how irrigators and other growers can cut on-farm energy costs by up to 70 per cent.

irrigationQueensland Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Leanne Donaldson, said over the past two years a series of audits had been conducted to determine efficiencies that reduce power usage and associated costs, with promising results.

“The original 2014 Irrigators Energy Savers Project (IESP) was a partnership between the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF), Ergon Energy and the Department of Energy and Water Supply,” Ms Donaldson said.

“The program has since been expanded to target all intensive energy users in the agriculture sector, not just irrigators, known as the Energy Saver Plus program.

Ms Donaldson said by auditing energy usage on farms, particularly in the area of pumping systems, it was possible to find efficiencies, which, when resolved, could result in savings of between 10 and 70 per cent, with most in the 20 to 40 per cent range – significant savings for producers.

“Energy efficiency workshops have been held in regional centres from Mareeba to Emerald through to Applethorpe to help make growers more aware of the program and its potential benefits.

“I’m very pleased that industry groups are now taking the information gleaned from on-farm audits, and developing packages for their members including practical, tailored advice on how to reduce energy consumption through more efficient irrigation, heating and lighting.”

Ms Donaldson said a recent field day at the Aspley Nursery in Brisbane focused on identifying ways to deliver better energy efficiency in nursery production, with more than 40 attendees.

“Growers heard about monitoring and improving energy use with particular emphasis on irrigation, water heating for propagation and lighting,” Ms Donaldson said.

“Cotton Australia also held a successful workshop in Cecil Plains which looked at solar pumping and energy efficiency for irrigators.”

The Energy Savers Program is being delivered by Ergon Energy in partnership with the QFF and is funded by the Queensland Government.

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