Dairy farmers wanting an upgrade of the power infrastructure between Tyrendarra and Portland have stepped up their lobbying with a comprehensive consultant’s report that backs their case.
A spokesman for the power upgrade campaign, Tyrendarra dairy farmer Bruce Knowles, said the report would be presented to the Victorian Department of Economic Development. Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) to further press the campaign.
The report was prepared by Melbourne consultants Negotiaction in consultation with the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria, and paid for with a state government grant.
It found the lack of three-phase power in the area between Tyrendarra and Portland was stopping dairy farms from expanding.
The report said a 50 per cent government rebate to dairies to upgrade power infrastructure to three-phase from Single Wire Earth Return (SWER) or single-phase lines should be considered when dairies were undertaking large expansions.
It said large growth in herd sizes would require a rotary dairy and considerable operational capacity.
“The equipment associated with the milk harvesting and the milk refrigeration is well above the SWER capacity,” the report said.
“A dairy’s ability to expand is constrained by its milk storage capacity,” it said..
But it also said where dairies were considering small and medium expansions, a program to support them to upgrade milk harvesting systems and milk storage vat sizes while remaining on the SWER network should be considered.
“A practical program that meaningfully educates dairy operators, electricians and electrical contractors, and supports on-farm assessments and upgrades directed at reducing peak demand and enhancing power quality and supply could yield valuable outcomes for Victorian dairies,” the report said.
It said fixing dairy breakdowns took precedence over designing better power solutions and electricians and contractors might not be fully aware of “good case practice” for the dairy industry.
The report also explored the possibility of having power stored in a battery facility to overcome insufficient supply during peak demand times but found it would not be cost-effective.