Agribusiness and irrigation

Energy efficient agribusiness

As an agricultural business and primary producer you can make significant savings on both energy and materials by:

  • Investing in new packaging equipment and pumps 
  • Updating production processes
  • Optimising shading

Top energy-saving tips


Water pumping can account for a large proportion of energy use. Check that motors are the right size for the job and are not using more energy than needed. Variable speed drives (VSDs) make a big difference to energy consumption by taking advantage of off-peak load periods. 


The installation of VSDs on machinery with motors such as compressors, pumps and fans can make a big difference to energy consumption. Fitting VSDs to an irrigation motor can deliver significant energy savings.

Reducing motor speeds by 20 per cent can reduce operating costs by up to 50 per cent.    


Refrigeration is often the biggest energy cost for produce storage and packing businesses. Maintaining refrigeration equipment, regularly checking for leaks, installing variable speed drives on evaporative fan motors and automating cold storage doors are some actions that can help reduce energy use.

How much can you save?

Savings vary from business to business. Family-owned business Elf Mushrooms has reduced its energy costs by eight per cent, saving it an estimated $30,000 a year.

How can we help?

Energy experts

We have a team of professionals dedicated to helping you save energy and cut your power bills.  Understanding your current situation through an energy audit is often the first step.  We can connect you with a local energy efficiency expert who knows your industry, is up-to-date with the latest technologies and can identify your biggest savings.

Training courses

Our regular training courses can help you make your business more energy efficient and reduce costs.

Online tools and resources

Our range of tools and resources can help you save energy.

  • NSW Farmers solar pumping guide
    NSW Farmers in conjunction with the Office of Environment and Heritage has developed a guide to solar powered pumping in agriculture.
  • Energy efficiency gains for Australian irrigators
    Energy efficiency gains for Australian irrigators is an Australian government funded initiative to keep the industry up to date on the latest information. This site has fact sheets, calculators and case studies.
  • Apple and Pear Australia Limited
    Apple and Pear Australia Limited offer a range of fact sheets and case studies highlighting savings that can be made by those in the fruit industry.
  • Cottoninfo energy efficiency
    CottonInfo, a joint program by industry bodies Cotton Australia, CRDC and CSD, has useful energy efficiency advice.
  • NSW Farmers energy innovation program
    NSW Farmers has a suite of energy efficiency papers for various agricultural sectors and themes.
  • Ag Innovators energy efficiency
    Ag Innovators, published by NSW Farmers, has handy energy efficiency advice categorised by farm types.
  • Electric irrigation pumps factsheet
    The NSW Department of Primary Industries has a factsheet that describes a simple way to work out pumping costs and the energy efficiency of your electric pump.
  • PROWater irrigation pumps course
    The NSW Department of Primary Industries' factsheet describes a simple way to work out pumping costs and the energy efficiency of your electric pump.

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Page last updated: 02 September 2016