Agribusiness Energy Co‑operative

Co‑op operating background

Farming operations are varied with most having the ability to establish a large-scale generation capacity but limited energy use on an annual basis. Other farming operations can be high energy consumers during high production periods such as fruit producers.

There are also specialised packing houses and cold storage facilities that require steady energy flows.

A Co‑op installed smart meter records generation and self-consumption.

Energy is traded across the existing network via the use of a smart card containing energy credits generated or purchased through the Co‑op.

Once generated and recorded, energy is purchased by the Co‑op for resale to members or self-consumption on other NMIs regardless of location.

This structure (membership/shareholding) is available to all businesses within the primary industries sectors as either a generator, consumer or both.

Small margin on transactions supports Co‑op administration.

Excess energy generated by members is traded onto open market at current available pricing.

Profits support members through periods of hardship, install further generation capability, finance additional on-farm capacity or distributed amongst generating members.

Gravitas Energy

Gravitas Energy specialises in large scale renewable energy installations throughout regional Australia. They deal solely with the top 5 technology providers as defined by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and only install products from Australian based distributors. Gravitas Energy has been involved in renewable energy for over 11 years and also offers a broad range of technological solutions for agricultural businesses. Other interested partners cover production horticulture and dairy sectors.

Find out more about Gravitas Energy.

Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania (RAST)

Established in 1821, RAST has long advocated for the agricultural sector. The oldest agricultural society in the southern hemisphere has worked hard in recent years to reinvent itself. Having worked with Gravitas on a major solar installation soon to be installed at the Hobart Showground, the relationship has evolved into how to benefit the primary industries sector. Both RAST and Gravitas Energy are developing a position to deliver a critical mass of generated power to support Co‑operative members.

Find out more about The Royal Agricultural Socity of Tasmania.

The Co‑operative structure

  • Based on best practices already across agri-coops nationally and internationally
  • Member-elected board and executive
  • All members must have agribusiness involvement
  • In-house energy trading desk
  • Smart meter based technology to support peer-to-peer trading
  • Guaranteed buy and sell rates for energy
  • All energy generation assets owned by agribusiness or the Co‑op

The founding partners have identified:

  • A genuine need to reduce ever rising cost of operations affecting agribusiness viability and sustainability;
  • Requirements for real savings through on-farm generation;
  • Development of avenues to purchase energy from other producers at guaranteed rates;
  • Opportunities to diversify crop production through excess energy generated needs;
  • Plans to trade across different sites through peer-to-peer trading at guaranteed rates;
  • Enhancing farm investment by utilising energy as additional income.

Founding partners:

Gravitas Energy and The Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania are partnering on this initiative.

Web based reports & smart e-business solutions

Peer-to-peer trading either across existing holdings or to Co‑op members anywhere in Tasmania. Smart metering means real time reporting available at the click of a mouse. Internet or mobile connection is the only requirement. Ability to reduce existing NMIs and associated costs. Energy solution is cash flow positive from day 1.

How will the Co‑op work?

The Co‑op will:

  • Create a co‑op platform where primary producers can trade in renewable energy.
  • Provide the mechanism to manage ever rising cost of operations affecting agribusiness viability and sustainability.
  • Enhance real savings through on-farm generation.
  • Demonstrate opportunities to diversify crop production through excess energy generated needs.
  • Develop a favourable trading environment to conduct peer-to-peer trading at guaranteed rates.
  • Enhance farm investment by utilising energy as additional income.