Energy Savers
Mareeba

Mareeba Banana Farm

Implemented
45%
Actual Energy Savings
Industry
Horticulture
Location
Mareeba
Irrigation
Solid Set
Pumps
Centifugal
Solution
Variable Speed Drive

Farm Profile

The farm is split into eleven irrigation blocks with each requiring between 12 and 18 hours of irrigation per week, depending on rainfall. The property is undulating so the size and height of the irrigation blocks are different. 

One pump was assessed as part of an energy audit. The pump irrigates one block at a time operating for around 5,000 hours per year using over 320,000 kWh per year at an annual cost of around $89,000. 

An audit of site energy consumption evaluated:  

  • Variable speed control 
  • Remove primary sustain valve and replace with Dynamic Head Control 
  • Change from Tariff 44 to Tariff 66 

The recommendation from the energy audit is to install a variable speed drive on the pump to automatically modulate pressure at 250 kPa at the irrigation valve stations. This would allow removal of the primary sustain valve and improve efficiency.  

The audit report also included a recommendation to change the tariff for this pump account to realise potential savings of $21,266 per annum. 

Solution  Add Variable Speed Control  Dynamic Head Control  Tariff Change  TOTAL 
Energy Savings kWh  9,084 – 13,850    103,000 
Demand Savings kW  11.3 – 14.4 kW     
Cost Savings  $14,400  $4,300  $21,300  $40,000 
Cost  $20,000  $15,000   – $35,000 
Payback (years)  1.9    1.9 

 

The Pumping Efficiency Rate improvement is estimated to have improved from 354 kWh/ML to 236 kWh/ML 

A number of other benefits were reported by the farmer: 

  • Lower maintenance costs and longer pump life because the pump is not running as hard
  • A previous 2ML variation in water between blocks is now expected to be eliminated
  • “Each Plant, no matter which block they’re in, are getting a nice consistent watering

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 energysavers@qff.org.au. 

Farmer feedback
Based in the results from the Energy Savers audit, we are looking at rolling out similar efficiency trials and audits throughout the rest of the farms