Total energy consumption recorded from the two pumps was 49,280 kWh costing $19,943 per annum. The farm energy audit recommended changes to the current pumping and irrigation system to improve efficiency, this included works on:
- The 30kW River Pump, 24,032kWh, $8,913 – Upgrade the pump including suction and discharge works, and mainline pipeline upgrade.
- The 45kW Booster Pump, 25,248kWh, $11,030 – Upgrade the pump and install a Variable Speed Drive (VSD), including suction and discharge works. Install a 28ha centre pivot and 7kW solar system.
The recommendations from the Energy Audit are as follows.
||Energy savings (kWh)
||Cost Savings ($)
||Payback Period (Years)
||Emission Savings (tCO2-e)
||Capital Cost ($)
|30kW Pump- upgrade works
|45kW Pump- upgrade works
|28ha centre pivot
|7kW solar system
Based on the current volume of irrigation, the efficiency recommendations do not reflect the true economic value of the upgrades. The current system is under-irrigating resulting in poor crop yields of 40tc/ha. An increase from the current use of 160mm of effective rainfall, to 450mm to 500mm of irrigation is ideal and best for growing sugar cane in the region. Based on the sugar mill average for the soil media conditions, a potential crop yield of 100tc/ha and profit increase would result if the irrigation system is upgraded.
Net production improvements from the application of more water
||Application Uniformity (%)
||Water and Labour Cost ($)
||Net production ($)
|All upgrades 10ML
With the use of the new centre pivot, improvements to the system capacity will meet daily crop water demand, from the improvement in irrigation application and efficiency. The increase in crop yield from 40tc/ha to 100tc/ha will provide a net benefit of $87,983, or 137 per cent in net primary production per annum, and reduce the payback to just 2.65 years.
Pre and Post Audit Metrics – excludes the 7kW solar system
|Energy Consumption (kWh)
|Energy Costs ($)
Production increase aside, energy consumption could be reduced 87% and costs by 57% after implementing pumping and irrigation upgrades. Should the site install the 7kW solar system an additional 7,091kWh could be generated onsite, offsetting the pumps energy use and almost all carbon emissions associated.
An energy audit is a good investment
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The Energy Savers Plus Extension Program is delivered in by the Queensland Farmers Federation with support and funding from the Queensland Department of Energy and Public Works.