Wine grape growers are always searching for ways to reduce electricity costs for vineyards and wineries and that's what they discussed during a workshop coordinated by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI).
The workshop was held at the DPI Griffith Research Station and led by DPI Wagga Wagga Development Officer - Viticulture, Adrian Englefield.
There was keen interest in the concept from the industry when 17 wine grape growers along with representatives from six Riverina-based wineries attended the three-hour workshop.
"Each workshop will give you a strong foundation on the basics of energy management and leave you with ideas to take action towards reducing your energy costs," Mr Englefield said.
Topics discussed included understanding the electricity market, managing electricity demands and opportunities to reduce electricity costs in vineyards and wineries along with the ongoing support from the Office of Environment and Heritage.
Mr Englefield said the wine grape industry is always looking for opportunities to help improve energy efficiency and reduce costs and the workshop was established to highlight various options available. The workshop was funded through the Wine Australia Riverina Regional Program which aims to help grape growers and winemakers adopt new tools and research findings to support a competitive Australian wine sector.
It also featured speakers from the Office of Heritage and Environment.
"As part of this project we audited seven Riverina-based vineyards to look at how we could reduce their electricity consumption," Mr Englefield said.
As part of this project we audited seven Riverina-based vineyards to look at how we could reduce their electricity consumption
"We will be using them as case studies to make practical recommendations to assist in improving energy use efficiency. There was a mix of solar, diesel and power from the grid, either as individual sources or in combination."
Mr Englefield noted the wine growers and wineries are very good at using power as efficiently as their operation allows, but he said there were always opportunities to reduce costs, yet maintain or lift production.
Lower energy use for wine industry
Current and widespread focus on global warming drawing attention to reducing electricity consumption is giving many primary producers cause to consider how best they could reduce their needs and their costs.
Understanding your on-farm power bills was one of the topics discussed at the NSW DPI coordinated workshop held at the DPI Griffith Research Station.
DPI Wagga Wagga Development Officer - Viticulture Adrian Englefield said there are options available and he acknowledged the support of the Office of Environment and Heritage (OH&E) in assisting farmers in reducing their energy costs.
"Workshop attendees were introduced to a number of OE&H programs and assistance available to industry to assist in identifying energy saving measures and increase electricity use efficiency," he said.
"The use of off-peak power is well known, but it is difficult for growers when they need to water their vines through daylight hours on very hot days.
"But we can improve the engineering around pumps with a better design to embrace the availability of modern technology."
DPI and OE&H are building knowledge in electrical management discipline.
Mr Engelfield encouraged growers to visit the web page www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/energy-savings-and-resource-efficiency for more information about how to reduce their energy use and associated costs.
Those in the Riverina are also welcome to contact Adrian Englefield directly on 0428 324 099.