Adapting to climate change through supporting an energy transition in agriculture

19:00 Tuesday 28 May




Anne Dansey (Australia) 1; Sara Bice (Australia) 2

1 - The University of Melbourne; 2 - Australian National University

Australia has experienced significant and rapid change within energy policy in the past five years. The national Finkel Review [1] reviewed the reliability, cost and future sustainability of energy production and developed a blueprint for industry and community transitioning toward a low carbon future. This has required consideration of decentralised energy and own-generation production of renewables (the rise of prosumers) and responses to rapid technological change. Agriculture Victoria decided to proactively respond to this transition, and identified impacts on the sector through conducting a farmer survey. This survey provided significant insights into cost and reliability and sustainability issues for the sector.

However, it also uncovered farmer’s uncertainties and barriers to investment such as finding technologies suited to their sector, to a desire to observe new technologies demonstrated on-farm and barriers to accessing independent expertise on renewable options. Over the past decade, agriculture has been responding to the challenge of developing and maintaining a social licence for the sector. The industry as a whole is challenged with requirements for greater transparency of the production process and increased accountability for impacts on communities and the environment including climate change emissions reduction and adaptation activity.

The Agriculture Energy Investment Plan has used a co-design policy development approach to proactively engage farmers in their energy transition. This approach provides trusted advice on options for behaviour change and practical solutions such as free energy assessments and co-contribution grants. The plan has been significantly enhanced through a reliance on existing rural and agriculture oriented climate change networks and forums, where the work has been presented and refined. Farmers are now more engaged in seeking to understand their energy usage and in investing in community energy projects e.g. microgrids. The program has resulted in an increase in energy literacy in the sector, the formation of Farmers for Climate Action and a deeper understanding of their energy investment and emission reduction options

[1] Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market