The Bundaberg Regional Irrigators Group have received funding from ARENA to conduct a three year field trial to demonstrate the economic benefits of using renewable energy (specifically solar) to power irrigated sugarcane production.
A solar pumping trial will be conducted on a winch irrigated sugarcane farm over a period of 3 years. The trial will examine:
- a suite of appropriate renewable energy options and irrigation system configurations;
- appropriate changed farm management practices specifically suited to renewable energy to overcome constraints to adoption;
- any increases in cane production yield achieved as a function of increased irrigation and renewable energy integration;
- knowledge and capacity of irrigators to confidently invest in renewable energy to augment irrigation pumping energy requirements used in sugarcane production;
- the financial viability of the concept.
The Adapting Renewable Energy Concepts to Irrigated Sugarcane Production project demonstrates how methods currently used in Australia to irrigate large crops such as sugarcane can be at least partly, if not fully, powered by solar energy.
The project will demonstrate that it is possible to replace some or all grid supplied daytime electricity requirements used for sugarcane irrigation with a sustainable low carbon, solar photo-voltaic (PV) electricity supply to reduce the impact of high cost peak demand electricity.