A $1 billion pledge by the Federal Government for new energy generation, storage and transmission will help Australia’s farms reach a goal set by the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) for energy sources to be 50 per cent renewable by 2030.
NFF CEO, Tony Mahar, said, “While renewable energy investment continues to develop at pace, the real challenge that needs addressing is support for the transition to appropriate transmission and storage assets.”
“Energy is a significant cost for agriculture, especially for the already under-pressure dairy and irrigation industries.
“For intensive sectors like dairy, irrigation or horticulture, with pumping or refrigeration requirements, costs can be as high as 17 per cent according to the Australian Farm Institute.”
High prices directly subtract from farm profitability, the input requirement is constant so the higher marginal costs of energy cannot be offset. Equally, a lack of reliability (electricity being available when it is required) may cause farmers to rely on other options such as generation powered by diesel or gas.
“The expansion of renewable energy on-farm is a win for farmers and the environment,” Mr Mahar said.
The NFF has recently collaborated with the CEFC to release the Transforming Australian Agriculture with Clean Energy report which is a set of initiatives that may assist in lowering on-farm energy use and carbon emissions.
Mr Mahar said the NFF was committed to reducing the agriculture value chain’s reliance on fossil fuels in favour of renewable sources.
“To achieve this, we will absolutely require investment in new energy sources and new approaches to generation, storage and transmission,” Mr Maher said.
“Funding that provides a pathway for renewable energies to become part of the farm energy mix is welcomed.”
The announcement progresses NFF’s stated priorities of solving the energy trilemma of lower prices, greater reliability and consequent lowering of emissions.