About the Plan
The Agriculture Energy Investment Plan (AEIP) is the Victorian Government's $60 million investment to support Victoria's farm businesses to reduce energy costs, improve energy efficiency and explore alternative energy generation.
The plan outlines the Victorian Government’s commitment to partnering with industry to build a more resilient, energy efficient and internationally competitive agriculture sector.
The plan consisted of grants and free farm energy assessments (now closed) and ongoing on-farm demonstrations, education and research into energy technologies of the future.
Since early 2018, the plan has supported more than 1,300 farm businesses with free on-farm energy assessments and delivered over 650 grants to Victorian farmers.
Farmers have also been able to attend farm energy demonstrations at the Agriculture Victoria SmartFarm at Ellinbank and are accessing webinars and research updates via the Energy Smart Farming portal .
The initial $30 million AEIP was highly successful and oversubscribed. The Victorian Government invested a further $30 million to extend the program.
The plan was informed by a survey of industry and tailored to the needs of primary producers.
What is the Agriculture Energy Investment Plan?
Energy is a significant cost for farmers. The plan supports agricultural businesses to reduce energy costs, improve energy efficiency and explore alternative energy options, helping to sustain Victoria's adaptable and internationally competitive agriculture sector.
The plan is made up of:
- Assessments – providing free On-Farm Energy Assessments to assist farmers in identifying where they may reduce energy costs (Now Closed)
- Grants – to support farmers to invest in energy-efficient or own-generation technology within existing energy policy (Now Closed)
- Demonstrations – showing energy-efficient or own-generation technology on-farm
- Skills and education – linking farmers and businesses to information and education resources
- Research – facilitating partnerships to commercialise research for the farming sector
How is the plan different from other programs?
The Agriculture Energy Investment Plan is specifically designed to respond to the on-farm energy issues faced by Victorian primary producers. The Government surveyed farmers to understand their energy concerns which informed the design of the plan.
The program helps primary producers map energy efficiency opportunities and facilitate productivity boosting investment.
Making a difference
Industry groups and farmers said that primary producers were feeling the pressure of rising energy costs and were seeking advice on opportunities to reduce energy costs. The plan provided free on-farm energy assessments from a panel of independent experts that identified opportunities tailored to the unique circumstances of each farm.
This ensured that any investment under the program mapped specific opportunities to boost energy productivity and reduce costs, helping to improve efficiency and ensure value for money.
Powering the plan with the best independent advice
An Independent Advisory Panel was established to help Agriculture Victoria design and implement the Agriculture Energy Investment Plan for best on-farm outcomes.
The panel ensured that farmers were supported in energy efficient processes or technology investments that will help build a more energy efficient, adaptable and innovative agricultural sector.
Panel members were not paid sitting fees.
The panel provide advice to ensure the plan met the needs of farmers and reached all eligible farmers across Victoria.
About the panel
The Independent Advisory Panel comprised leading experts in the agriculture and energy sectors and was established to provide advice on the design and implementation of the Agriculture Energy Investment Plan. Panel members did not work for the Victorian Government and did not have a decision-making role.
The panel members are:
- Mark Wootton, Chair – Jigsaw Farms Principal
- Alan Pears AM – Senior Industry Fellow, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT
- Natalie Collard – Renewable energy advocate and former Executive General Manager, Clean Energy Council
- Paul Mumford – United Dairyfarmers of Victoria President
- Emma Germano – Victorian Farmers Federation President
Through the Independent Advisory Panel, Agriculture Victoria had access to the best advice from industry leaders to ensure the plan supported farmers to make smart energy choices on-farm.
On-Farm Energy Survey
Agriculture Victoria's On-Farm Energy Survey captured key insights about the pressure points experienced by farmers and the barriers to investing in energy efficient technology. This data shaped development of the plan, ensuring it met industry's needs.
The survey revealed that investment costs, the speed of technological change and uncertainty about implementation were preventing Victorian farmers from improving their energy efficiency and pursuing alternative energy options. The survey was open from 11 October 2017 to 12 November 2017.
On-Farm Energy Survey responses:
- On-Farm Energy Assessment Infographic (PDF - 38.9 KB)
- On-Farm Energy Assessment Infographic (WORD - 14.4 KB)
What did farmers tell us in the On-Farm Energy Survey?
215 farmers participated in the survey regarding on-farm energy use, costs and efficiency. They said there were several barriers preventing or discouraging them from investing in energy efficiency measures.
These included the high cost of investment in new more energy efficient equipment, not being able to see the benefits of these investments, the difficulty in keeping up with technology and the need for demonstrated results.
The Agriculture Energy Investment Plan was developed to address these barriers and provide advice, confidence and assistance to farmers.
Read the Agriculture Energy Investment Plan:
- Agriculture Energy Investment Plan (PDF - 1.4 MB)
- Agriculture Energy Investment Plan (WORD - 118.5 KB)
Read case studies about farms putting in energy efficiency measures: