Renewable energy the solution for Tassie farmers

Falling costs of some renewable energy sources may ease financial pressure on Tasmania’s agricultural sector, particularly for vegetable farmers for whom rising electricity prices is becoming an increasing concern.

Research conducted by Applied Horticulture Research (AHR) and InfoTech has explored the practicalities of implementing solar, wind, biogas and natural gas/LPG technologies for specific locations based on the experience of farmers and feasibility studies, which it presented to growers at six workshops.

Presenters also presented strategies to improve current farm energy efficiency by up to 10 per cent, and offered help to decipher electricity bills.

AHR project leader Gordon Rogers the purpose of the workshops said it would be common for farmers across the country to have power bills that total about or in excess of $100,000 a year, and said the research helped to provide alternative solutions to on-farm power generation to help alleviate those costs.

“The cost of solar systems are coming down significantly, but the viability of solar options was more dependent on what subsidies were available [in Tasmania],” Mr Rogers said told The Advocate.

“Wind was a lot more economically feasible but there are more restrictions and the approval process is quite a lot more difficult.”

The AHR is also looking at issues such as bio-fuel and how to reduce farmers’ use of electricity as their next projects of research.