A LARGE South Australian farming enterprise expects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 62 percent and cut network energy demand by more than 70pc following the activation of a combined 2.28MWh Tesla lithium-ion battery system.
AAM Investment Group’s Riverlands Free Range poultry complex near Blanchetown on the Murray River is Australia’s second-largest poultry producer.
The recently completed RFR battery will operate in conjunction with 1.4MW of solar panels spread across the farm’s extensive shed rooftops, significantly reducing overall grid requirements.
AAM managing director Garry Edwards said the $2.6 million battery project was part of a larger $4.9m energy sustainability project, rolled out across the facility in early 2019, that will bring the combined benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 970 tonnes of CO2.
This was equivalent to the power required to run 650 homes for a year and illustrated how AAM is implementing sustainability measures across agriculture, whilst demonstrably improving financial returns through these investments, Mr Edwards said.
“AAM has been informed this is the largest energy storage battery installation on any commercially operating farm in Australia,” he said.
“The RFR farms will now be completely powered by renewable energy about 65 pc of the time. The battery lets us store and then use this energy at peak times in the afternoon or early morning, and to fill the battery from the network in times of low power pricing.
The onsite battery capacity now provides enough storage to power the entire complex for about four hours every day, enabling the business to reduce and manage its exposure to the volatility of the wholesale energy market while simultaneously cutting demand on the South Australian energy network.
“This project is yet another successful demonstration of how agricultural businesses can be highly innovative and play an important role in the entire solution of moving Australia to a low-carbon future,” Mr Edwards said.
He thanked the South Australian Government for its meaningful investment in the project through funding provided via the Energy Productivity Program, and its assistance in creating an opportunity to deliver an Australian-first example of how energy is managed within an operating agribusiness.
“This project is a great example of how government and the private sector can effectively collaborate to develop innovative solutions that create a platform that will benefit the agricultural industry, the environment and the broader community,” Mr Edwards said.
Other key delivery partners in the project included Energy Australia, Colby Phillips Advisory, Gem Energy, Tandem Energy, Dematec Automation and Electric Results, in addition to a significant involvement and commitment by the network provider, South Australian Power Network.
AAM grows about 20 million free range and RSPCA-certified chickens per year at its RFR and Murray Bridge poultry farms for Ingham’s. RFR has also invested heavily in building a solid waste composting facility onsite that has capacity to cut on-site truck movements at Riverlands by 87pc.