The Agriculture Energy Taskforce met this week to hear from key leaders as part of energy
transition in Australia and to work through opportunities for agriculture industries relating to
the roll out of technologies, with a focus on regulatory costs for the agriculture sector.

The cost of energy over recent years has caused significant impacts on the ability of
Australian farmers to produce food and fibre at a sustainable cost, particularly in the
operation of pumps for irrigation, cooling for storage and processing and packaging for
many industries.

At the time the Ag Energy Taskforce was established in 2014, members agreed that to
achieve an affordable energy price to enable their members’ businesses to be sustainable, a
target price should be set to send a signal to regulators, policy makers and networks that the
target price would enable productive agriculture industries to maintain viability.

The Taskforce reaffirmed its commitment at the meeting in supporting the target objective of
a medium to long term price capped at 8 cents per kilowatt-hour for the electrons (R) and a
similar ceiling of 8 cents per kilowatt-hour for the network (N).

A key guest at the meeting, Dr Alan Finkel, Special Adviser to the Australian Government on
Australia’s Low Emissions Technology, spoke to issues relating to the Technology Investment
Roadmap and its role in achieving lower emissions and driving down energy costs. Also
discussed were the benefits of gas as a firming agent and emerging industries like hydrogen
as well as the role of solar, wind and battery storage as part of Australia’s energy transition.

Dr Finkel indicated that the 8 cents and 8 cents target set by the Taskforce appeared to be a
reasonable cost and suggested that on average during the year, industries might be able to
achieve that.

Australian farmers are potential early adopters of appropriately scaled technology for on-
farm use emerging from the Technology Roadmap. This is both in generating energy and
reducing demand; as potential exporters of energy and feed stocks; and in sequestration
through land management.

Taskforce members were also briefed by ElectraNet on Project Energy Connect, the
proposed new interconnector between South Australia and New South Wales, which forms
part of the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) Integrated System Plan.

A briefing on The Energy Charter outlined opportunities for agriculture to engage more
directly with the energy sector to discuss the impacts of energy costs on rural and regional


Gavin McMahon | Central Irrigation Trust (SA) | 0419 038 962
Dale Holliss | Bundaberg Regional Irrigators’ Group | 0417 009 236
Isaac Jeffrey | National Irrigators’ Council | 0407 083 890

The Ag Energy Taskforce was established in September 2014 to enable the peak bodies to
work in collaboration to advocate on behalf of Australia’s agriculture sector to alleviate the
impact of high electricity costs on agricultural industries, local businesses and communities.
The Taskforce is convened by the National Irrigators’ Council.

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