“Our concern is in ensuring that we make the transition to a zero net emission world – while also reducing the cost of production”, says the Ag Energy Taskforce in its submission to the Australian Government’s Technology Roadmap process.

CEO of the National Irrigators Council (convenors of the Taskforce), Steve Whan, said “Australian agriculture needs – and wants – to be, a core part of Australia’s journey to net zero emissions. 

“Australian farmers are early adopters of new technology, they have led the way in take up of renewables and they have, for more than a century, led the world in agricultural practices.

“That’s why we’ve told the ‘technology roadmap’ panel that Australian farmers are the potential early adopters of appropriately scaled technology coming out of the Technology Roadmap process.

“Energy policy over the last 20 years has been a disaster for Australian agriculture. We’ve gone from having a real competitive advantage, with the fourth cheapest energy prices in the OECD, to having farmers forced off grid or out of markets with the fourth highest costs.

“The Technology Roadmap is looking at what energy technologies have the greatest potential to achieve large-scale emissions reduction. Hopefully, technologies where Australia can build a competitive advantage. 

“In responding to the discussion paper the Ag Energy Taskforce highlighted four key points:

  • Ensure technologies can be rolled out on a scale which will make their use viable on farms and in agricultural processing.
  • Ensure excessive network cost and regulation do not hamper take up of new technologies e.g. make grid connection and microgrids practical and affordable.
  • Put rural industries at the forefront in planning, including planning and financing for demonstration projects and extension services to promote take-up.
  • Ensure there is an overarching national energy and emissions policy that provides policy certainty for investors, which includes rules around carbon farming.

“The parts of Agriculture represented in the Taskforce are very excited about the prospects for things like bioenergy, hydrogen, sequestration in soil and vegetation, better integration of distributed generation and demand reduction.

“Agriculture has direct interest in technologies that can generate energy or reduce demand on-farm or in agricultural business; on fuel sources for transport on and off farm and on potential for agriculture to expand its revenue streams and reduce emissions through supply of feed matter or carbon sequestration. 

“We believe agriculture and rural communities should be an integral part of strategies to meet our emission reduction goals.  We need to be there on the ground floor engaged by Government and with strong direct input to the policy process.”

Media Contact:  Steve Whan 0429 780 883

23 June 2020