AGL partners with farmers for bespoke microgrid projects

Four men in high-vis workwear stand with shovels at sod turning at Cadell Orchards (AGL farm)
Image: Cadell Orchards/AGL

AGL Energy is partnering with Australian Farming Services (AFS) on three bespoke renewable energy projects for their farming enterprises in Riverina, NSW.

It comes within a week of AGL breaking ground at AFS’ Cadell Orchards on the construction of the first microgrid system, which comprises a five-hectare solar farm and 5.4MWh battery, providing enough renewable energy to power a small town.

AGL will also be working with AFS on two further microgrid projects at the Canally Almond Orchard and Murray Downs Processing Facility, with both projects aiming to reduce reliance on diesel, harness renewable energy sources and provide energy resilience and reliability to their businesses.

Related article: AGL powers almond farm with microgrid and solar farm

AGL chief customer officer Jo Egan said the expansion of the partnership to include Canally Almond Orchard and the Murray Downs Processing Facility demonstrates that AGL offers commercial and industrial customers innovative and cost-effective renewable energy solutions.

“AGL has been working with AFS to model energy usage and to design an integrated and innovative renewable energy system to lower their costs and meet their future needs across Cadell Orchards, Canally Orchards and Murray Downs Processing Plant,” Egan said.

“We are excited to support AFS achieve their sustainability goals and work together to complete three large renewable energy projects in the Riverina community. Our partnership is testament to the great work we are doing in partnering with businesses to provide tailored energy solutions and support our customers to decarbonise the way they live, move and work.”

With Cadell Orchards and Canally Orchards currently relying on 100% diesel generation to power its irrigation, the onsite microgrids will reduce their reliance on diesel by 85%, slashing the orchards’ combined Scope 1 CO2-e emissions by 10,900 tonnes—the equivalent of taking 3,027 cars off the road.

AFS CEO David Armstrong said with AGL’s support, the agribusinesses are transforming their farming operations to generate clean and renewable solar power, providing greater energy resilience for the remote area.

Related article: AGL to power Riverina almonds with renewable energy

“We manage more than 4,400 hectares and nearly 1.5 million trees in some of Australia’s most productive horticultural regions,” Armstrong said.

“We are working closely with AGL as they design, build and operate the solar-powered microgrid at Cadell Orchards and Canally Orchards and deliver the almond farms an 85 percent reduction in diesel fuel, slashing our emissions and providing substantial cost savings each year.

“As one of the largest employers in the region, these renewable energy projects provide our businesses with greater energy price certainty and better energy reliability so we can focus on producing Australian-grown almonds.”

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