En­ergy ef­fi­ciency grants avail­able for farm­ers

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By ALI TOCKER

Dairy farm­ers could save thou­sands of dol­lars a year with a new Gov­ern­ment grant to help achieve dairy shed elec­tric­ity sav­ings.

The En­ergy Ef­fi­ciency and Con­ser­va­tion Author­ity is of­fer­ing 40 grants to­wards heat re­cov­ery sys­tems for dairy sheds, which it says could save farm­ers up to 30 per cent off their dairy shed power bills.

In­ter­ested Waikato farm­ers should ap­ply to Mav­er­ick En­ergy, which is de­liv­er­ing the Gov­ern­ment’s dairy shed heat re­cov­ery pro­gramme in the North Is­land. The en­ergy ef­fi­ciency firm will ap­ply to the author­ity for the grants on be­half of farm­ers, ar­range for the sys­tems to be in­stalled and mea­sure elec­tric­ity sav­ings. The author­ity’s pro­gramme man­ager, Rod Treder, said re­search showed some dairy sheds were us­ing three times more elec­tric­ity than they should, mea­sured against the most ef­fi­cient sheds.

“Dairy sheds use a lot of en­ergy to heat wa­ter for clean­ing,’’ Mr Treder said.

‘‘Heat re­cov­ery is the big­gest and most cost-ef­fec­tive op­por­tu­nity for im­prov­ing dairy farm en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.”

With a heat re­cov­ery sys­tem, heat re­moved dur­ing the milk chill­ing process was used to heat wa­ter for clean­ing, Mr Treder said.

Pay­back on in­vest­ment typ­i­cally took two to five years, al­though it could be less than a year for large farms, Mr Treder said.

The author­ity’s grants will dis­count the cost of buy­ing and in­stalling a heat re­cov­ery sys­tem by 33 per cent for ex­ist­ing dairy sheds and 25 per cent for new dairy sheds.

Up­grad­ing to more en­ergy ef­fi­cient equip­ment, such as drive con­trol sys­tems and lighting, may also qual­ify for author­ity fund­ing.

“Over time we hope that heat re­cov­ery will be­come a stan­dard fea­ture of dairy shed hot wa­ter sys­tems,” he said.

The pro­gramme fol­lows a study of en­ergy use on 150 dairy farms, about half of which were in the Waikato.

The study was led by the author­ity, with the thenAgri­cul­ture Min­istry and Fon­terra.

En­ergy au­di­tors stud­ied these farms’ power use in the 2010-11 sea­son and iden­ti­fied wa­ter heat­ing as the area where the most sav­ings could be made. About half the power used was go­ing on wa­ter heat­ing and pump­ing.

The author­ity said Mav­er­ick En­ergy would work with farm­ers to find the right so­lu­tion for their dairy shed and could: as­sess the dairy shed rec­om­mend a so­lu­tion pro­vide a free quote ap­ply for a grant man­age in­stalling and com­mis­sion­ing a heat re­cov­ery sys­tem, and

mea­sure elec­tric­ity sav­ings.

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