Energy Savers
Wide Bay Burnett

Gympie Plantation Forest

Proposed Energy Savings
Nursery and Garden
Wide Bay Burnett
Solid Set
Solar Photovoltaic, Demand management

Farm Profile

HQ Plantations near Gympie manages 343,000Ha of land and is the largest commercial forestry plantation in the state. Over a production area of 212,000Ha, 2.3 million m3 of wood is harvested, sequestering 1,810Mt of CO2 annually.

One of the keys to HQ Plantations production cycle is an onsite 26-hectare nursery, consisting of 7.6Ha of production area, 2.9Ha of shade structures and 4.7Ha of full sun growing area producing over 10 million seedlings annually.

A snapshot of total energy use and two main production systems contributing to energy consumption onsite includes:

Annual Energy Use kWh Cost ($) T CO2-e (Tonnes)
Site Total 172,117 46,552 160.8
Pumping 71,913 6563.85 69
Propagation 48,061 4235.65 46.1
Maximum Demand 101kVA


The energy audit identified larger energy saving measures with recommendations to:

  • Reduce time of use of steam generator showing a reduction of 19,602kW per annum and cost reductions of $1,789 per annum.
  • Install a 30kW solar PV reducing electricity consumption by 44,170kW per annum and costs, including demand charges of $16,145 per annum. This system would have a payback period of 2.6 years.
  • Identifying causes of peak demand – looking for opportunities to shift load such as staggering machine start-ups, which could reduce demand by nearly 12kW, saving $2,575 per year.
  • Change tank filling to off-peak, further reducing demand, saving over 6kW and $2,813 per annum.
  • Quick wins such as turning off unused computer screens and workshop lighting when not in use saving 4,207kWh and $366 and per annum.
Solution Reduce Time of Use of Steam Generator Install 30kW Solar PV Move tank filling to off-peak Identify Peak Demand Causes Turning Off Lights and Appliances TOTAL
Energy Savings kWh 19,602 44,170 0 0 4,207 67,979
Demand Savings kVA 0 0 6.4 11.8 0 18.2
Cost Savings $1,789 $16,145 $2,813 $2,575 $366 $24,333
Carbon Emission Reductions (t CO2-e) 18.03 40.64 0 0 3.87 62.54
Cost $4,700 $42,000 $0 $0 $0 $46,200
Payback (years) 2.6 2.6 N/A N/A N/A N/A


Water is supplied to the main tank from two bores, automated to fill when the water level drops below a predetermined level. Water is then pumped to the nursery using four multi-stage variable speed pumps.

Shifting the tank-fill pumping to off-peak times has the potential to reduce demand by 6.4kVA at a cost saving of $2,813 per year. The average cost to install an energy monitoring device which can monitor up to two three phase circuits is $1000. Further demand reductions can be found onsite.

A real-time energy meter was installed onsite capturing the main pumping circuit which supplies the header tank. The device will allow the business to understand their energy consumption. Read more about HERE.

The Energy Savers Audit showed the 10,227,684 plants per annum are produced using 172,471 kWh at a cost of $16,698, excluding supply and demand charges. Should the plantation adopt all the recommended changes with the same output, the energy consumption per unit would be reduced by around 60%.

Metric Pre-Audit Post Audit
kWh/unit 0.016 0.010


These estimated costs and savings will be updated to actual savings once the farm has implemented the projects.

An Energy Savers field day was at HQ Plantations with presentations on water and energy efficiency, and a technology showcase highlighting efficient pumps, lightweight solar PV and new financing opportunities. Click HERE for more information.

An energy audit is a great way for a business to cut costs and boost productivity.  Find out about what’s involved in an energy audit HERE and subscribe to our bi-monthly energy e-news HERE.

If you have any energy efficiency related questions for the team get in touch at

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.