Australia’s dairy industry is set for an energy efficiency overhaul, with $10 million up for grabs to upgrade equipment and help slash energy consumption.
Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor, pictured, this week announced dairy farmers could apply for up to $20,000 to upgrade equipment, invest in energy monitoring systems and investigate alternative options for energy efficiency.
The $10 million program includes $400,000 for WA farmers specifically.
Mr Taylor said energy use in milk cooling, milk harvesting and hot-water production was one of the dairy industry’s highest overheads, costing up to $12,800 per 100 cows each year.
“Farmers have long been at the forefront of innovation to reduce their cost of doing business and their emissions output,” Mr Taylor said.
“Energy costs remain high for many in our dairy sector, especially where farmers are doing it tough on the back of bushfires and COVID-19.
“The Government’s support will help dairy farmers in their efforts to better manage their energy use while also continuing to play a role in reducing global emissions.”
Between $5000 and $20,000 is available for farmers to replace or upgrade equipment to be more energy efficient, to install monitoring systems to better manage energy use, or to conduct energy audits to investigate other opportunities for energy-efficient activities.
Grants can also be used to install or replace a component to be more efficient, including installing solar pre-heating for a hot-water system, installing a variable speed drive on a vacuum pump, installing heat recovery from milk cooling equipment to pre-heat water, or installing remote monitoring equipment for water storage or pasture condition.
WA has been allocated $400,000 of the $10 million program, with the lion’s share — $5.8 million — allocated to Victoria.
New South Wales has been allocated $1.5 million, Tasmania $900,000, Queensland $800,000 and South Australia $600,000.
Mr Taylor said the program was focused on helping dairy farming businesses to lower their power bills by becoming more energy efficient.
The grants will be available from Monday under the Government’s Energy Efficient Communities Program, which formed part of last year’s Federal Budget.
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the grants would provide financial support at a time when many in the industry were struggling.
“Supporting the long-term sustainability of our dairy farmers is critical to the sustainability of regional Australia and our food security,” he said.
Eligible applications will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.
Applications close August 17.