Energy is a dominant input cost for most farmers and a key business risk. Prices are increasing across all sources or energy with electricity users hit hardest. In recognition of this, since 2012, NSW Farmers has been driving an influential farm energy productivity campaign across the areas of efficiency, renewable energy, electricity distribution solutions, and related policy reforms. To support delivery of research and practical extension resources significant external funding has obtained from the State and Federal governments. Programs and activities to date are outlined below, with links to detail information and resources. New projects are in the pipe line for 2018.
The Farm Energy Innovation Program
The NSW Farmers "farm energy innovation" program was funded by the Federal Department of Industry and produced practical tools and advice to help farmers across all sectors analyse their energy use and identify solutions. In addition to innovation case studies on 20 representative farms, the program delivered seminars on energy efficiency and training for local energy professionals in farm energy auditing.
Program focus areas
| - Vehicles and liquid fuel use
- Irrigation and pumping
- Refrigeration and cool storage
- On-site generation and renewable energy
- Intensive farming facility management
|- Energy innovation action plans
- Effective purchasing of energy
- Power quality
- Reliability of supply, as well as voltage and phase variance
- Supply chain efficiency
For more information about the program and to access the extension resources it created see Farm energy Information program
Water & Energy Nexus initiative
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage funded NSW Farmers to conduct a study into the connection between energy costs and usage, and water-efficient irrigation practices.
The project involved desk top research coupled with a series of focused interviews with industry stakeholders (irrigators, engineers, policy makers).
The aims of the study were to:
Clarify anecdotal evidence that high energy costs, particularly for electricity, were a barrier to adoption and usage of water efficient, pressurized irrigation systems.
- Seek advice from industry opinion leaders as the kind of program that would assist the irrigation sector in addressing the challenges.
- Develop recommendations for Government.
Following publication of the project report, NSW Farmers has collaborated with National Irrigators Council and its members bodies to seek funding for a national program as recommended by the study.
For more information see Water & Energy Nexus Initiative
Solar powered pumping initiative
NSW Farmers and Australian Dairy Farmers joined forces to deliver a program focused on practical ways to reduce costs and increase energy efficiency in dairy. The program built on the information resources generated as part of Dairy Australia’s previous EEIG program and on work developed through NSW Farmers own energy innovation program.
For more information see Reducing Energy Costs in Dairy,
Alliance to Save Energy
NSWFarmers is a member of the national Alliance to Save Energy
and Chairs its Ag Sector working group. The Alliance is collaboration of peak energy stakeholders and includes representatives of all sectors of Australian industry.
Presentation by NSW Farmers at the 2014 Alliance Conference
The Future of Electricity in Regional NSW
The Future of Electricity in Regional NSW identifies the challenges and potential solutions for affordable and reliable electricity for our regional and rural communities. The NSW Farmers Association is taking the lead on providing practical solutions to ensure that in the near future the provision of electricity becomes an enabler for the growth of farming and regional communities, not the significant impost that it currently is.