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Ag News

Vic Farmers - What is the Agriculture Energy Investment Plan?

  • By: "Prime" Ag News
  • Aug 02, 2018

The state governments plan is to provide free assessments, Grants, Demonstrations, Education and research in an aim to boost farm productivity, increase jobs and grow exports. The first step in this plan is providing free assessments to farmers to identify potential improvements in their use of energy. Once an application has been completed an assessor will be assigned and sent out to identify improvements that can be made. Once the initial lot of assessments are complete, applications for grants will then open. To apply for a grant an assessment must be completed.
 
The agricultural energy investment plan is aimed at providing an assessment of current energy use on-farm and changes that could be implemented to improve it, from there grants will be given to implement these changes.  
 
To qualify for the grants specific criteria (shown below) needs to be met which includes items like: holding an ABN and spending more than $8,000 on energy (electricity, gas and diesel) per annum. Documentation also has to be gathered when applying including recent energy bills which represent average energy consumption of the farm.
 
Eligibility Criteria:
   * Be a business with an Australian Business Number (ABN)
   * Have an eligible farm located in Victoria
   * Be a primary producer, defined as:
       ** Cultivating or propagating plants, fungi or their products or parts (including seeds, spores, bulbs and similar things) in any physical environment; or
       ** Maintaining animals for the purpose of selling them or their bodily produce (including natural increase); or
       ** Manufacturing dairy produce from raw material that they produce; or
       ** Operating on - land aquaculture facilities.
   * Spend more than $8,000 per annum (including GST) on energy on-farm inclusive of electricity, gas, LPG and diesel (excluding energy for transport).
   * Be a legal entity.
   * Meet all industrial relations obligations as an employer in accordance with the National Employment Standards; and
   * Agree to participate in future program evaluation activity.

Assessment Options:
There are two types of assessments that can be under taken depending on the average energy consumption of the farm. If you spend between $8,000 and $24,999 annually you qualify for type one, more than $25,000 qualifies you for type two;
 
Energy Assessment (Type One) – will provide an overview of energy performance. It will identify no-cost and low-cost opportunities for improvements. Type one assessments will prioritise actions and upgrades based on return on investment.
 
Energy Assessment (Type Two) – will provide a detailed assessment involving a comprehensive review and analysis of: equipment, systems, and operational characteristics of the whole farm. Type two assessments include a financial analysis of recommended energy performance improvements including own-generation opportunities. Assessments will calculate energy savings and provide costs and benefits and prioritise actions and upgrades.

Who is on the Independent Advisory Panel?
The panel members are:
   * Mark Wootton, Chair – Jigsaw Farms Principal
   * David Jochinke – Victorian Farmers Federation President
   * Alan Pears AM – Senior Industry Fellow, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT
   * Natalie Collard – Executive General Manager Clean Energy Council
   * Adam Jenkins – United Dairyfarmers of Victoria President
 
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