Energy experts support a focus on energy efficiency

by Tiffany Paczek
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Federal Labor’s focus on improving energy efficiency in its energy plan is a much-needed move that will help lower energy bills, reduce emissions and pave the way to a clean energy system, says the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC).

The policy, which includes plans to support renewable generation and battery storage, also includes big-ticket commitments to an Energy Productivity Agenda:

  • Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) – an extra $10 billion for the CEFC to invest in energy efficiency and clean energy
  • Manufacturing Energy Efficiency Accelerator Program – $20 million to help 1000 manufacturers cut their energy bills
  • Training and accreditation – $10 million to help train engineers, mechanics and other workers to help businesses bring down their energy costs
  • Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) – Australia’s renewable energy agency will be allowed to invest in innovative energy efficiency technologies and projects, as well as renewables, and
  • COAG Energy Council – a $10 million commitment to work with states and territories to develop a revitalised national plan for energy efficiency, including harmonisation of state and territory energy efficiency schemes.

Luke Menzel, CEO of the EEC, has welcomed these announcements. “Bill Shorten pointed out that Australia is the worst in the developed world when it comes to energy efficiency. That is not some esoteric fact – it hits Aussies hard, because it results in much bigger energy bills across the nation,” he says.

“Labor’s new plan will start turning this around, and help slash energy bills for Aussie families and businesses.”

Ramping up effort on energy efficiency is a move with a lot of support. A survey this year found that an astonishing 88 percent of voters back action on energy efficiency. That’s why so many organisations are calling for smart energy efficiency policies, from welfare groups like Australian Council of Social Service through to business groups like the Property Council and the Australian Industry Group.

“Labor’s plan to help manufacturers to save energy is smart. This will cut energy waste, boost productivity and reduce emissions – a win win-win,” Menzel says.

“It will also create thousands of jobs. The latest research on jobs in the energy efficiency sectors shows huge potential to ramp up energy efficiency jobs.”

Menzel adds that the Commonwealth government must work with states and territories to achieve effective progress across the country. “That’s why developing a proper plan through the COAG Energy Council is so important.

“However, there are things that we should be getting on with straight away. For too long, Australia’s failure on energy and fuel efficiency has hit everyday people and small businesses hard. There’s no time to waste in getting on with the job of implementing energy and fuel efficiency measures that are good for the planet and the pocket,” says Menzel.

“Germany, the global leader on energy efficiency, has cut the average German household’s energy bill by 30 percent – and that has meant $509 back in the pockets of families every single year.”

“Helping Australians save on energy costs is a no-brainer that should be supported by all political parties. We’re looking forward to more announcements from all sides of politics in the run up to the Federal election,” says Menzel.

Image: 123RF’s Pop Nukoonrat © 123RF.com

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