Australia: $30 million for growers to manage energy

The Andrews Labor Government will invest $30 million to help Victoria’s farmers manage energy costs through improved efficiency and new technology.

Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford visited Boomaroo Nurseries in Lara to launch the new Agriculture Energy Investment Plan.

The plan will help local farmers reduce energy costs, maintain competitiveness and create local jobs by providing on farm energy assessments, as well as grants to improve energy efficiency and install renewable energy systems.

The Victorian Renewable Energy Targets will ensure 25 per cent of the state’s electricity generation comes from renewable sources by 2020, and increasing to 40 per cent by 2025.

These targets will cut the average cost of power for Victorians, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and importantly create new jobs.

The Agriculture Energy Investment Plan will start in 2018 and provides:
  • $5 million for energy efficiency assessments on farm
  • $20 million in grants to support farmers invest in energy efficiency and generation technology
  • $1.5 million to demonstrate energy efficiency and generation measures on farm
  • $2.5 million to link farmers and businesses to information, education resources and apps
  • $1 million in research to commercialise research for the farming sector.
In an initial consultation, the Victorian Farmers Federation said that cost, reliability and access were the key pain points for farmers. The On-Farm Energy Survey carried out by Agriculture Victoria provided the evidence to support an on-farm energy initiative.

The survey revealed that investment cost, the speed of technology change and uncertainty about implementation were preventing farmers from improving energy efficiency and pursuing alternative energy options.

The Plan is a partnership between primary producers, agricultural groups, Sustainability Victoria, educational groups and government, with an advisory group to be formed to advise on the investment plan’s implementation.

The Agriculture Energy Investment Plan is funded by the Labor Government’s $200 million Agricultural Investment Jobs Fund, which supports projects that improve farm productivity, boost market access, grow exports and increase jobs.

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