Western Victorian food and drink businesses are leading the way in making the switch to renewable energy, a new Climate Council report shows.
The Renewable Feast report released in late December featured Meredith Dairy as an example of a large-scale family business reducing its power bills and helping address climate change.
The award winning sheep and goat dairy farm is using 100 per cent renewable energy from solar installed on the farm and purchasing accredited GreenPower from the grid.
GreenPower is a guarantee that the electricity you buy supports the development of new renewable energy projects, like wind and solar plants.
The farm also uses a solar hot water system and biomass fired boiler to provide hot water for its cleaning and processing.
Watch the video with Meredith Dairy director Julie Cameron below.
Meredith Dairy director Julie Cameron said the family was already seeing the effects of climate change.
She says the awareness of its impacts drove their decision to switch to renewables, but the benefits have extended beyond reducing the farm’s ‘carbon footprint’.
We had to make sure we were self-sufficient for our own power supply.Julie Cameron, Meredith Dairy
“In a rural setting, electricity supply is not great and unreliable. There could be an accident near Geelong which is 50 minutes away and our power goes out,” she said.
“We had to make sure we were self-sufficient for our own power supply so we could keep making product. We have made sure there are no stoppages or hold ups because of things like power supply.”
The Climate Council report shows more than 40,000 Australian businesses have made the switch to renewable energy, while gas and electricity prices continue to rise.
Gas prices have tripled over the past five years while electricity prices for small business owners have increased by 80 per cent to 90 per cent in the past decade, according to the report.
In a region that has pioneered community energy, natural mineral water company Daylesford and Hepburn Mineral Springs Co. has also made the switch.
The company purchases clean energy from Hepburn Wind, Australia’s first community-owned wind farm.
Meanwhile, Nectar Farms is preparing to set up a hydroponics vegetables glasshouse powered with wind and battery storage in Stawell.
Managing director and CEO Stephen Sasse said Nectar Farms could not connect to the power grid so had no other option than to install renewable energy.
The Climate Council report says Australian businesses and households together with state and local governments have been leading the way on renewable energy, in light of the ongoing absence of credible national climate and energy policy.
A survey commissioned by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency found more than three quarters of Australians would choose a product or service made with renewable energy over a comparable product that is not.