The estimated annual cost of energy for the Australian agricultural sector is approximately $5.85 billion, but this is set to soar as electricity prices double by 2024, according to a recent federal government forecast.
Over the next two years primary producers will be forced to make significant changes to their energy consumption practices to remain profitable and attainable for consumers. The ability of agricultural businesses to stay globally competitive will also be heavily dependent on the proportionate cost of energy.
On-farm renewable energy systems are being touted as a significant solution for farmers from a long-term cost-saving perspective, but they will also play a seismic role in our national transition towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Since 2000, energy consumption from renewable sources in Australia has increased from 270 billion joules to 420 billion joules, consumption is relatively low (at 7%) in the context of Australia’s total energy consumption (6,000 billion or 6 trillion joules).
Up until now there have been very few resources developed to identify suitable alternative energy solutions for a broad range of agri-businesses, and their return on investment.
Eight steps to an alternative future
AgriFutures Australia has recently published a series of short reports specifically for primary producers, outlining the methodology of eight ready-for-market renewable energy solutions with a step-by-step guide on how to begin the process of integration into on-farm practices.
The series is the first of its kind in Australia, with a strong focus on:
AgriFutures Australia Manager for National Rural Issues, Jane Knight said AgriFutures Australia’s research captured in the eight short reports reveals key pathways to adopting alternative energy and includes case studies sharing where it is already in use in rural industries across Australia and information on its affordability. Crucially, the research highlights the sector-wide opportunity for change.
“Australian agriculture is under growing pressure to reduce emissions across the sector. Finding innovations and new technologies that allow industry to change existing practices will be essential in decarbonising and avoiding future greenhouse gas emissions. These reports provide a strong basis to support Australian agriculture on this journey,” Ms Knight explains.
“There are already a number of innovative producers that have successfully adopted renewable alternatives, including Rosnay Organic Wines and Meredith Dairy and this work will support others to embrace alternate energy.”
Source: Agrifutures. More can be found at the AgriFutures Australia Knowledge Hub.