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Local News

Aussie farmers don’t have to choose between growing food and hosting solar; report shows they can do both

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Australia has enormous potential for grazing sheep and growing fruits and vegetables under solar panels using agrivoltaics.

Aussie farmers don’t have to choose between growing food and hosting solar; report shows they can do both

 

Farm Renewables Consulting, Progressive Agriculture

A report out shows Australia has enormous potential for grazing sheep and growing fruits and vegetables under solar panels, but better planning, more research and targeted government policy is needed to make these options work for local farmers.

Agrivoltaics (also referred to as ‘agrisolar’) refers to co-locating agricultural production systems with solar development.

Co-locating our food and energy systems on developed land presents a promising pathway for farmers, solar developers and governments, provided it is well planned and executed.

The report Pursuing an Agrivoltaic future in Australia gathered insights from farmers, government representatives, consultants, researchers, and solar developers, on the challenges and opportunities of agriculture and solar developments. EnergyCo was a key partner in the delivery of two workshops contributing to the knowledge gathering process.

The authors found agrivoltaic adoption has been slow, because of knowledge gaps, technical and economic impediments, poor planning, and a lack of clear policy guidance at development stage.

Karin Stark, Director of Farm Renewables Consulting and co-author of the report said: “I found there was considerable optimism for the feasibility of agrivoltaics in Australia, but change is required to ensure future solar developments are undertaken in a way that guarantees successful outcomes.”

“International studies have highlighted several benefits associated with solar over crops, such as enhanced yields in the case of certain produce like berries, tomatoes and leafy greens.

Australia has enormous potential for grazing sheep and growing fruits and vegetables under solar panels

Australia has enormous potential for grazing sheep and growing fruits and vegetables under solar panels

“Solar over vineyards has also demonstrated benefits to the sugar and alcohol content of grapes given the fruit’s sensitivity to hot weather. Overseas research has indicated advantages including increased soil moisture, reduced irrigation demands, protection from excessive heat, and safeguarding against frost and hail damage.”

Andrew Bomm, consultant with Progressive Agriculture and co-author of the report said: “Solar grazing can have clear economic benefits for both solar developers and graziers, and play an important role in achieving community support for large scale solar development in rural areas.”

“One key insight that came out loud and clear was that solar grazing systems require adequate planning and design prior to construction to avoid major problems later.”

The report underscored the need for research and demonstration sites, supportive policy, and knowledge sharing to pave the way for adoption of agrivoltaics in Australia on a significant scale.

The report’s policy recommendations include:

  • The Australian government provide funding to develop best practice guidelines for developers, operators, and farmers for successful agrivoltaics adoption.
  • The Australian government collaborate with the renewables industry to co-invest in ongoing essential research into agrivoltaics in different areas marked for solar development, and for different farming systems such as grazing, viticulture and horticulture.
  • The Australian government develop a coherent framework of carbon and biodiversity incentives to maximise best practice agrivoltaics adoption, across both broadacre (grazing) and horticultural systems.
  • There is an intergovernmental agreement between Commonwealth and State Governments to ensure consistent framework across Energy and Agricultural agencies.

The report can be found here.

 

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Local News

Two additional men charged over alleged conspiracy to murder plot – Strike Force Barralier

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NSW-Northern-Rivers-Breaking-News

Two additional men charged over alleged conspiracy to murder plot – Strike Force Barralier

 

Organised Crime Squad detectives have charged an additional two men over an alleged murder plot under Strike Force Barralier.

Strike Force Barralier was established in December 2023 by State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad to investigate an alleged conspiracy to murder a man residing in the Sydney metropolitan area.

Investigations identified a group of men as allegedly being involved in a plot to murder the 30-year-old.

Three have already been charged and remain before the courts.

Following further inquiries, about 10am today (Tuesday 9 April 2024), strike force detectives travelled to Coffs Harbour Police Station where two men – aged 27 and 29 – were transferred from a correctional centre in Clarence.

The younger man was charged with conspire and agree to murder any person, and knowingly/recklessly direct criminal group assist crime.

The older man was charged with conspire and agreed to murder any person and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

Both men were refused bail to appear in Coffs Harbour Local Court today.

Anyone with information that may assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or visit here. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

 

For more National Australia News, visit here.

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Coffs Harbour

F-35A LIGHTNING II AIRCRAFT TO FAREWELL COFFS HARBOUR AIRPORT AFTER COMPLETING REPAIRS

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F-35A LIGHTNING II AIRCRAFT

F-35A LIGHTNING II AIRCRAFT TO FAREWELL COFFS HARBOUR AIRPORT AFTER COMPLETING REPAIRS

 

A Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft will return to RAAF Base Williamtown following a short stay at Coffs Harbour Airport whilst undergoing repairs following a diversion.

The aircraft was participating in a Royal Australian Air Force training activity over the ocean off the NSW coast when it diverted to Coffs Harbour airport following an in-flight technical issue.

RAAF technicians have conducted repair works at the airport to ensure the aircraft was serviceable as soon as possible.

Residents are advised that an engine-run will be conducted at 2pm prior to the aircraft’s departure to ensure it is safe to return home to RAAF Base Williamtown.

Elevated noise levels will be associated with the engine-run activity, which is required prior to confirming the aircraft’s readiness for departure.

Strict security protocols are in place to safeguard the F-35A Lightning II aircraft whilst undergoing repairs.

The Royal Australian Air Force would like to thank Coffs Harbour Airport for their hospitality, and the local community for their ongoing support.

 

For more Coffs Harbour news, click here.

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Ballina News

New Ballina youth festival – Thrillfest – announced for Youth Week

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Thrillfest

New Ballina youth festival – Thrillfest – announced for Youth Week

 

A new youth festival, Thrillfest, will be held in Ballina for the first time during Youth Week, featuring a battle-of-the-bands, skateboarding workshops, and football drills – and free buses will ferry young people to the events.

The Ballina Youth Network is organising Thrillfest, and the not-for-profit organisation Social Futures is part of that network. The festival will be held on April 16, from 11am, at Missingham Park, Ballina with the support of Rotary Ballina, Cherry Street Sports Club, Ballina Shire Council, Hartley’s Fruit Shop and Ballina Buslines.

Social Futures Children Youth and Families Manager, Kiara McBeath said the Thrillfest lineup was a testament to the diverse interests and skills of the region’s young people.

“Thrillfest festivities kick off with the Battle of the Bands, where aspiring musicians will hit the stage to compete for amazing prizes,” Ms McBeath said. “Get ready to cheer for your favourites and witness the birth of the next big thing in music.

“You can also grab a board and join a skateboarding workshop run by Truckstop Skate School. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned skater or just starting, the Truckstop experts will guide you through techniques and tricks that’ll have you owning the pavement in no time.

“And for the sports enthusiasts, join in on our lively footy drills – a chance to show off your skills and maybe even learn a few new ones.

“The day is all about celebrating young people and their immense talents – from music to skateboarding to sport. And of course, it’s all about having fun!”

There will also be interactive games, and a free BBQ lunch.

“In an effort to make Thrillfest accessible to every teen in Ballina, there will be free transport on the day,” Ms McBeath said.

“Every bus network in Ballina is supporting this event by offering free transport to Tamar Street all day long for young people,” Ms McBeath said.

“Join us for an unforgettable day of fun, friendship, and fanciful feats. Ballina’s youth are the heartbeat of our community, and Thrillfest is here to celebrate that energy and creativity.”

National Youth Week, April 11-24, is a week-long celebration of the contribution that young people make to Australia. It is a joint initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments. Each year, all over Australia, events are planned and organised to celebrate and recognise the contribution of young people.

 

For more local Ballina news, click here.

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