Dairy Australia has a number of resources available for dairy farmers looking to save on-farm energy costs.
Saving Energy on Dairy Farms
Dairy Australia’s Saving energy on dairy farms booklet is a comprehensive guide to smarter on-farm energy use.
Updated in December 2018, it is a step-by-step introduction to better understanding power bills, identifying leaks, reducing demand, improving efficiency and considering options for renewables.
With hot water, milk cooling and milk harvesting accounting for a combined 80% of on-farm energy use, the booklet breaks down how to achieve savings in each of these key areas. Download the PDF here (Link to Saving energy on dairy farms PDF)
Feasibility of renewables
There is a section of the Saving energy on dairy farms booklet that outlines the potential considerations for renewables in dairy, such as solar, wind, hydro and storage options.
With costs falling and take-up rising of solar and other renewable energy systems, businesses are increasingly interested in storing the energy they produce to maximise its benefit and reduce their bills.
Renewable energy’s main challenge is that its use is restricted to when the renewable resource is available (for example, when the sun shines or the wind blows). Storage allows more of that renewable energy to be retained so it can be used on-site at a later time and further reduce electricity consumption from the mains power grid.
Unfortunately, given the complexity of renewable energy and storage technology, there is no easy or quick way to answer the question of “how much storage do I need at my site and what will it cost?”
The only way to properly answer this question, which maximises the chance of implementing a cost-effective project at any given site, is to undertake a feasibility analysis which takes into account that site’s specific consumption patterns, electricity tariffs and solar resource.
Please note: Both renewable energy and storage technologies continue to evolve, with storage prices predicted to drop dramatically in the coming decade. Consult an expert about individual business needs to see whether renewables and storage is a viable option.
More information is available in the following fact sheets that you can download from this page:
- Feasibility of stand-alone renewable systems
- Energy efficiency – Considering a renewable energy system?
Potential for biogas in dairy
Biogas technology does not have to be complex or difficult to operate, but it does need to be tailored to the specific needs of the farm in terms of farm management, waste characteristics and biogas use.
Before developing methane capture and use projects, the following questions need to be answered:
- What type of anaerobic digester suits the operation?
- How much biogas will it yield?
- How do the costs and benefits compare with conventional alternatives?
For more information see the Biogas feasibility fact sheet and the Emissions Reduction Fund method on the Clearn Energy Regulator website.
Grants for energy assessments
Energy assessment grants are a great way for farmers to cut their power bills. Grants are available in Victoria, NSW and South Australia. Nationally, the government works with major banks and other investors to provide low-cost loans for energy equipment through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
Details of current grants available are available on the Grants for energy assessment fact sheet.
Saving energy on dairy farms smarter energy usePDF, 3.58 MB
Feasibility of stand alone renewable energy systems factsheetPDF, 127.64 KB
Considering a new renewable energy system factsheetPDF, 358.55 KB
Feasibility of biogas technology in Australian dairy industryPDF, 68.12 KB
Grants for energy assessments and energy efficiency factsheetPDF, 1.01 MB