Energy savings stack up

A National Energy Savings Scheme could deliver energy savings from both electricity and gas equivalent in electricity terms to four and a half times the annual output of the Liddell coal-fired power station, according to the Energy Savings Industry Association.

The figures are based on a NESS target saving 10 per cent of electricity and gas consumption by 2030 which would deliver 39,415 GWh energy savings annually by 2030, and taking into account Liddell’s average electricity output of 8,680GWh over the past two years.

The analysis was undertaken by the Energy Savings Industry Association (ESIA), which says it’s time federal policies were developed that support an energy savings scheme.

“There is no more time to waste: a NESS needs full support from all parties and candidates leading into the Federal election and beyond,” said ESIA President Rod Woolley.

“A NESS is the most cost-effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions - even more attractive than renewables [and] addresses the other energy trilemma issues: reducing energy costs and improving energy security.

“This is nothing new - it’s slipped through the cracks.”

Back in 2017 the Climate Change Authority recommended an energy savings scheme to the Government just seven days prior to the Finkel review’s release which recommended governments accelerate the rollout of energy efficiency measures.

ESIA believes a NESS would:

·       Accelerate rollout of energy upgrades with a significant national energy savings target increase from 2021 to 2030 providing a strong signal to the market to deliver sooner

·       Build on success of proven existing energy savings schemes in Victoria, NSW, SA and the ACT, all with uncommitted targets from 2020 except for NSW

·       Reduce energy bills of participating consumers

·       Provide certainty to industry for the next decade to innovate and invest capital to open up opportunities rather than relying on piece-meal government grants funded by taxpayers

·       Provide access for more Australians to participate in upgrades, and

·       Spearhead a suite of complementary measures that are essential but take longer to mobilise including minimum energy performance standards for products and buildings at point-of-sale and rental, and regulations to phase-out inefficient products.

“We know that readily identifiable energy upgrades with quick paybacks would save Australians almost $8billion in reduced energy bills and create more than 120,000 jobs, with more than one-third of these jobs to be created with a NESS. And that’s just the entree,” said Woolley.

A NESS would provide upfront financial incentives to residential and business energy customers to rapidly increase installation of more energy efficiency products and processes including: lighting, air conditioning, hot water, building weather sealing, industrial fan and motor upgrades and better energy monitoring systems to turn off energy-hungry services when they aren’t needed.

In related news, ESIA estimates energy efficiency presents a $7.7 billion, 120,000-job opportunity for Australia.

The Energy Efficiency Employment in Australia report, commissioned by ESIA and the Energy Efficiency Council and written by Green Energy Markets, also found that better energy efficiency would cut household gas use by 640 million gigajoules over a decade - the equivalent of a huge gas field.

“Energy efficiency is a huge opportunity – we can cut households’ and businesses’ energy bills by $7.7 billion a year,” said Rob Murray-Leach, Head of Policy, Energy Efficiency Council.

“Improving energy efficiency will also create thousands of jobs across the economy, making Australia cleaner, fairer and more affordable.”

ESIA President Rod Woolley commented on the effectiveness of Energy efficiency schemes at the state level in helping homes and businesses cut energy bills and driving investment and innovation in clean technology, saying “These schemes must be scaled up and implemented nationwide to maximise their benefits for homes, business, and industry; failure to do so is leaving money on the table.”

The report noted that energy efficiency is already Australia’s largest ‘energy employer’, employing 25 per cent more people than coal mining. About 500,000 electricians, architects and engineers spend some of their time working on energy efficiency, which adds up to 59,000 full-time jobs in the sector.

“Energy efficiency is an obvious job creator compared to other energy-related sectors because Australia has millions of buildings and pieces of energy-consuming equipment,” said Tristan Edis, Director – Advisory, Green Energy Markets.

“As Australia searches for solutions to drive a just transition away from polluting, expensive and unreliable energy sources, accelerating energy efficiency improvements is a smart and economical way to get the job done.”

Improving energy efficiency of Australian homes and businesses will:

Cut energy bills by $7.7 billion each year

Create 120,000 job-years of employment; and

Reduce households’ gas use by 940 million gigajoules over a decade.This is equivalent to finding a huge new gas field in Australia, and would provide almost a quarter of Australian manufacturers’ gas needs.

Improving and expanding state energy efficiency schemes could deliver 43,000 FTE job-years of employment.

Upgrading homes with features like water heating, weather sealing and LED lights could save households $2.5 billion each year and create 34,312 job-years of employment, ESIA estimates.