Projects

RESEARCH AND ADVOCACY MATERIALS ON THE FEASABILTY OF RURAL ELECTRICITY USERS IN QUEENSLAND GOING OFF GRID AND IN PARTICULAR IRRIGATORS – FINAL REPORT

This project was funded by Energy Consumers Australia Limited (www.energyconsumersaustralia.com.au) as part of its grants process for consumer advocacy projects and research projects for the benefit of consumers of electricity and natural gas.

Background

The Bundaberg Regional Irrigators Group (BRIG) was established in 2009 to represent irrigators in the Bundaberg district across a range of commodity groups including sugar cane, grain and horticulture. BRIG members farm on approximately 36,000ha and use an estimated 1,100 irrigation pumps (average 33 ha/pump) and associated distribution systems to irrigate a variety of crops. The majority of these systems are powered by grid supplied electricity. BRIG is a not-for-profit organisation. BRIG successfully applied to Energy Consumers Australia (ECA) to undertake a project titled Research and Advocacy materials on the feasibility of rural electricity users in Queensland going off-grid and in particular, irrigators. Rapidly rising electricity prices are having a severe impact on the costs faced by our members and irrigated agriculture in general. Many irrigators have turned off their pumps and seen production plummet, while households and small business have cut their budgets to the bone or simply run up debt.

Right now, rural and regional Queensland is in crisis as a direct result of electricity prices. The electricity pricing system is clearly broken. The balance between fair electricity prices and profits is well and truly non-existent.

The proposal was to engage Engineroom Infrastructure Consulting Pty Ltd to analyse the feasibility of rural electricity users in Queensland, and in particular irrigators, going off-grid. Determining the cost of going off-grid may also illustrate inefficiencies in network investment to serve rural users.

We have finalised the project and the Excel based model including supporting explanatory details on how to use the model is available upon request.

To view the full report click here.

To request a copy of the Excel based modelĀ click here .