Droppings from Blantyre Farm's 22,000 pigs helped the enterprise be on record as Australia's first farm eligible to earn carbon credits under the Gillard government's carbon farming initiative. The hog manure is converted to methane through the commercial-scale system built by Quantum Power that the farm operator installed.
The farm, located near Young in New South Wales and owned by couple Edwina and Michael Beveridge, saves about $15,000 monthly on electricity bills and even earns $5,000 a month by selling power back to the grid. The Beveridges estimate that with projected earnings of $80,000 a year, the system has a three-year payback period.
The power generated is sufficient to cover the entire farm operation. The farm uses a covered pond system.
If other piggeries in Australia would also install similar systems, they could help improve the finances of the farms since Australian pig farms collectively emit 3.8 million tonnes of methane annually.
With the first farm to earn carbon credits on record, federal Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change Mark Dreyfus is scheduled to officially launch the carbon farming initiative that would allow farmers to earn carbon credits for capturing the gas from animal manure.
Besides the boost to farm income, the Gillard government could further use recently released statistical data to counter the Opposition move against the controversial carbon tax. Before the tax was implemented in July, Coalition leader Tony Abbott had waged a scare campaign that the measure would jack up the cost of living in Australia.
The Treasury estimated the carbon tax would increase the country's consumer price index by 0,70 percentage points or add $9.90 a week to average household costs. This extra expense is supposed to be offset by compensation averaging $10.10 a week.
However, September data said the higher cost of electricity and gas added only a smaller 0.44 points to Australia's inflation rate.
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