Energy efficiency grants available for farmers
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.