Experts welcome Energy White Paper's focus on energy productivity 08 April 2015
"We commend the Abbott Government for putting energy productivity at the heart of the Energy White Paper. Getting more out of each unit of energy is the best way to cut households' energy bills and boost Australian businesses' competitiveness," said Rob Murray-Leach, CEO of the Energy Efficiency Council.
Energy productivity has become a major issue for global competitiveness. China has dramatically improved its energy productivity in the last decade, and the United States has adopted a goal to double its energy productivity by 2030. However, we've barely tapped the potential for energy efficiency in Australia.
- Improving energy productivity will:
- Help lower households' energy bills
- Improve business competitiveness. The Energy White Paper states the energy savings potential in Australia’s industrial sector in the five years to 2011 was over $1.2 billion
- Cut greenhouse gas emissions while growing the economy. The International Energy Agency believes energy efficiency is the most important tool to cut emissions, delivering 40 per cent of the emissions cuts we need to keep global temperature rises below 2 degrees Celsius.*
"However, if the Australian Government is going to unlock the potential of energy productivity, it can't sit idly by - it needs to take strong action. We look forward to working with the Australian Government as it develops its National Energy Productivity Strategy" said Rob Murray-Leach.
The Energy Efficiency Council's key areas the Government must address to unlock energy productivity:
Take urgent action on tariff reform. While the Energy White Paper talks about the importance of cost-reflective tariffs, many monopoly network companies have gone the other way, raising fixed charges so households and businesses pay higher bills no matter how much energy they use.
- Save over $1 billion of taxpayers' dollars over two decades by improving the energy efficiency of government agencies.
- Retain and strengthen the Commercial Building Disclosure program, which helps prospective buyers and tenants find efficient buildings.
- Establish programs to help industry save energy.
- Carry out long-overdue reforms to Australia's energy markets to reduce the supply-side bias that have resulted in excess generation capacity and gold-plating of the grid. In 2002 the former Coalition Minister for Energy, Warwick Parer, lead a review that concluded:
"[There] is a relatively low demand side involvement in the NEM [National Electricity Market] because
• the NEM systems are supply side focussed
• the demand side cannot gain the full value of what it brings to the market
• residential consumers do not face price signals.”
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