Power prices pressure farmers

The state’s peak farming body has asked the NSW Government to invest in small scale on-farm renewables to ease cost pressures for food producers. 

The cost of electricity had nearly tripled in the past decade, according to Reg Kidd from the NSW Farmers Energy Transition Working Group, who said regional and rural users already paid 25 per cent more than urban users.  

“This is a huge cost for country people, but it’s especially felt by those high energy users such as dairy farmers and intensive livestock producers,” Mr Kidd said. 

“Many farm businesses are seeking efficiencies and certainty of energy supply by installing solar or other renewable generation, backed up by batteries, and while the costs of these are gradually reducing, they are still a major infrastructure investment to meet business rather than residential requirements. 

“NSW Farmers is asking the state government for investment in farm businesses, including subsidies and low interest loans, to install renewable energy generation and storage.” 

For primary producers, Energy Sustainability Rebates have the potential to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions, Mr Kidd said. With food being a major output of agricultural operation, all Australians had a stake in ensuring farms could transition to clean, affordable and reliable energy. 

“Without reliable energy supply the fresh product can quickly spoil and result in shortages,” Mr Kidd said.  

“By installing renewable energy systems primary producers increase certainty across their business operations and contribute to economy-wide carbon emission reduction targets. 

“Decision makers serious about these targets should support farmers investing in energy efficient or own-generation technology, which will also improve reliability of local electricity supply.”