Australia

Farmers are looking for renewable energy options

Farmers who want to switch to renewable energy sources say they face too many hurdles to reach their goals.

Dozens of growers who have tried to increase their renewable energy footprint will speak at the National Renewable Agriculture Conference in Albury on Thursday.

Stephen Hobbs, a Victorian mixed-crop farmer, said his attempt to produce biofuel from mustard seed oil was discontinued when taxed costs became prohibitive.

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Kaniba farmers in Western Victoria produced biofuel between 1999 and 2005 in an attempt to reduce their carbon footprint.

But he told the AAP that it was not feasible for small producers like him, as they would have to meet the same excise and regulatory obligations as big fuel companies such as Shell and BP.

“Meeting the test requirements for the amount of fuel I was producing became uneconomical…a certain level of production capacity is required to cover the compliance costs,” Hobbes said.

He said the system does not address farmers producing biofuels.

“There is no mechanism that puts value on the fact that you are using a carbon-neutral fuel, but when you burn fossil fuels such as diesel and gasoline, you actually create or release stored carbon.”

The mixed grain farmer is one of dozens of speakers addressing how Australian producers can increase their renewable energy footprint.

“Farmers have the ability to grow their own energy for use on the farm, which gives them energy security and other benefits, including carbon neutrality,” Hobbs said. increase.

Conference organizer Karin Stark said farmers face many hurdles if they want to switch to renewable energy.

“There are still some barriers for farmers to use renewable energy, such as very high initial capital costs and some technologies that are not there,” Stark told AAP.

“Early adopters[of renewables]need to educate others not to make the same mistakes and the industry knows where to focus their attention.”

Farmer for Climate Action CEO Fiona Davis said more and more farmers are turning to alternative energy sources.

“More and more farmers are looking to renewable energy on the farm as a way to keep costs down in the face of the power crisis,” Davis told AAP.

She said renewable energy needs to be more “accessible” for farmers looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

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Peter Frey

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Farmers are looking for renewable energy options

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