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Farm powered: opportunities for regional communities in the renewable energy boom

Decarbonisation Farming Energy industries Regional economics Energy resources Renewable energy Australia

In Australia, and globally, food and energy systems have reached a turning point. Growing populations and demand for clean, green energy and food is placing pressure on systems to decarbonise. These food and energy systems can take advantage of the changes ahead if the right decisions are made today.

This report outlines a vision for the future of farming, should farmers be supported to embrace these opportunities. This vision sees most of agriculture’s energy coming from renewable sources at minimal operational cost, encouraging new ways of operating farming businesses and producing food, with lower costs. Possible examples include areas where current high energy costs limit growth, such as in vertical farming, or desalination processes that provide water security. Technological advances that are energy intensive and costly now could see wide adoption in the future, with more robotic dairies and self-driving electric tractors charged through on-farm energy sources.

Key recommendations:

  • A national climate change and agriculture policy that delivers on-farm renewables and subsidised batteries
  • The introduction of renewable energy incentives for farmers to increase rapid uptake on farms and reduce input costs
  • State and federal governments to provide a mechanism for annual rent to be paid to farmers for transmission lines, and better benefits for communities
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