About the Plan
On 20 November the Minister for Agriculture, the Hon. Jaclyn Symes announced an $30 million extension to the Agriculture Energy Investment Plan.
More details about the extended $30 million Agriculture Energy Investment Plan will be made available in early 2021.
The Agriculture Energy Investment Plan is open to farmers and businesses whose primary operation is in the agriculture sector.
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 provides $30 million to support enhancements to energy efficiency and energy productivity, helping to boost competitiveness and protect local jobs.
The plan is 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 (closed) – providing on-farm energy assessments to assist farmers in identifying where they may reduce energy consumption
- Grants (closed) – to support farmers invest in energy efficient or own-generation technology within existing energy policy
- 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
The plan is a partnership between primary producers, agricultural groups, educational groups and government. It is funded by the government's Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund which supports projects that improve farm productivity, boost market access, grow exports and increase jobs.
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 and this has informed the design of the plan.
The program helps primary producers map energy efficiency opportunities and facilitate productivity boosting investment.
What type of initiatives were eligible for financial support?
Identification of eligible initiatives was informed by recommendations from the independent on-farm energy assessments.
These assessments provide a blueprint for investment opportunities that aim to improve energy efficiency. This could be through purchasing new, more energy efficient equipment such as pumps or lighting or installing own-generation capacity, such as solar panels.
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 on-farm energy assessments from a panel of independent experts which 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.
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 meets 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 has been developed to address these barriers and provide advice, confidence and assistance to farmers.
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 will ensure that farmers are supported in energy efficient processes or technology investments that will help build a more energy efficient, adaptable and innovative agricultural sector.
Panel members are not paid sitting fees.
The panel provides advice to ensure the plan meets the needs of farmers and reaches all eligible farmers across Victoria.
About the panel
The Independent Advisory Panel comprises 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 do not work for the Victorian Government and do not have a decision-making role.
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 – Renewable energy advocate and former Executive General Manager, Clean Energy Council
- Paul Mumford – United Dairyfarmers of Victoria President
Through the Independent Advisory Panel, Agriculture Victoria has access to the best advice from industry leaders to ensure the plan supports farmers to make smart energy choices on-farm.
How the panel was appointed
Members were selected based on their relevant skills and experience across a range of primary industries including energy technology, research and education and energy policy.
How it works
The panel will meet regularly over the course of the plan to provide advice to Agriculture Victoria on the design and delivery of each action of the plan.
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: