Queensland irrigators are improving pumping systems to reduce on-farm electricity use and energy bills as a result of the Queensland Government funded Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) and Ergon Energy, Energy Savers Program.

Over 60 per cent of the 130 farms participating in the QFF Energy Savers Program have or plan to implement part of the $3 million of annual energy cost savings identified in the energy efficiency audits across different industries. This includes 50 farms implementing energy efficiency projects and another 32 that are planning to in the near future.

QFF President, Stuart Armitage, said that despite the evident structural challenges with energy affordability in Queensland, farmers are not waiting around on the promise of eventual price relief.

“The biggest uptake has been by irrigators improving pumping systems. Crop requirements, climatic conditions, water licensing and irrigation channel conditions mean they don’t have the luxury of deciding when they pump water.

“Farmers are implementing projects to improve and upgrade irrigation, refrigeration, lighting and installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems,” said Mr Armitage.

“A recent survey of program participants found that over 90 per cent of respondents felt that Energy Savers has raised awareness of on-farm energy management.

“Most encouraging too has been feedback from energy efficiency suppliers that farmers are approaching them for improvements based off the case studies and information provided through the program.

“As more farmers have time to properly consider the recommendations on their unique business situations the expected level of savings should increase.

“Coming into the election, QFF will be asking the returning or incoming government to extend the successful Energy Savers Program, and look at other opportunities to assist farmers with an integrated approach to energy and water efficiency initiatives.”

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