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On-farm energy pilot projects in NSW given the green light

Solar array at The Pines Kiama. Photo credit: J. O'Connor/DPI.

Seven on-farm pilots have been selected to proceed by the NSW Government as part of Energy Efficiency Solutions project.

A2EP was engaged by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), initially to assess and report on opportunities for on-farm energy productivity improvements and then to manage ten comprehensive feasibility studies for innovative on-farm energy projects. A number of the feasibility studies were conducted by A2EP member organisations, including 2XE, Northmore Gordon, DETA Consulting, pitt&sherry and Energetics.

On Friday 11 December 2020, NSW Minister for Agriculture, Adam Marshall announced $1.32 million in co-funding for seven pilot projects to proceed to implementation. The Energy Efficiency Solutions project funding is part of the Climate Change Research Strategy being managed by DPI over four years. The project is intended to help energy-intensive farms identify options to improve their energy efficiency, productivity and reduce costs.

The Minister stated the pilot projects would yield long-term productivity and emissions benefits for NSW agriculture and help farmers improve their profitability and global competitiveness. “I want to see every advantage given to our farmers – especially when it comes to being more efficient at what they do best,” Mr Marshall said.

Kel Grey from The Pines Kiama with the micro-dairy's bank of batteries. Photo credit: J. O'Connor/DPI.

The Pines Kiama is one project which has proceeded to the pilot phase. Located just south of Sydney, the micro-dairy is owned and operated by Kel and Mahlah Grey and will now be a great example of 'agrovoltaics'. A 60kW solar PV and 60kWh battery system will support their commitment to producing sustainable milk, cheeses and gelato products on-site, reduce their long-term energy costs and provide energy back-up and independence.

Project update - 22 February 2021:

Photo credit: Aidan Moore.


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