Efficiency Action – September 2016

The Energy Efficiency Council's monthly e-newsletter, exclusively for EEC Members.

CEO welcome

Dear EEC Members,

Before yesterday afternoon, Australia's energy debate had settled down following a flurry of consternation over power price spikes in South Australia in July, and the role of that state's high levels of renewable generation. However, last night's state-wide blackout in South Australia has rocketed energy policy onto the front pages again.

Rather poetically, I was at a joint Australian Institute of Energy / Energy Efficiency Council event last night entitled Demand and supply in the future energy system. As news of the blackout continued to roll in, we heard presentations from our own Rob Murray-Leach as well as ClimateWorks CEO Anna Skarbek and Greensync's Bruce Thompson, on how to manage an increasingly complex energy system in which demand response, renewables and storage are interacting with an energy network designed for a much more straight forward relationship between generation and consumption.

Anna in particular underlined how critical it is to think about ambitious energy efficiency and the transition to low carbon generation in an integrated way. At a system level, transitioning the electricity system to renewables without pursuing cost effective energy efficiency opportunities will be far more expensive than it needs to be. However, an integrated approach makes sense on an individual level as well – interest in solar panels or a battery system is often an excellent way into a broader discussion about opportunities for energy efficiency improvement across a building or facility.

There will be a lot of commentary about what happened in South Australia. I'm not going to make a pronouncement on the causes of yesterday's blackout; that will shake out over the coming days (although those that jumped to blame renewables in the early hours of the crisis appear to have been even more wrong than they were last time).

The more important debate is the one we were addressing at last night's event – how we overcome inertia in our energy market institutions and regulations to create a twenty-first century energy system, that effectively balances investment in supply and demand side infrastructure while maintaining the reliability we have come to expect.


Luke Menzel, CEO, Energy Efficiency Council

Follow Luke on Twitter, or connect on LinkedIn.

Efficiency Action - September 2016


September 2016 policy round up

Tech spotlight: Efficient alternatives to Steam

Funding grants for women’s leadership development

Energy Efficiency at All-Energy Australia: Invitation to Australia’s most comprehensive clean and renewable energy event

New Masterclasses for Business & Industry

National Energy Efficiency Conference – Early Bird ends tomorrow!

Policy round up – September 2016

The EEC's Head of Policy, Rob Murray-Leach looks at the latest developments in energy efficiency policy and programs.

The energy headlines for coming weeks will be dominated by the South Australian blackout, particularly around the roles of renewables and the knee-jerk push for additional interconnection to South Australia. This is a very real debate, which I’ll touch on later, but there are other live policy issues at the moment.

Governments are collaborating on a range of national measures in the National Energy Productivity Plan. As part of this Plan, the Australian Government is considering how to improve the efficiency of its agencies, and has committed to announce its direction on this later this year. Having reinstated the Greener Government Buildings program last month, Victoria is also moving closer to releasing its energy efficiency strategy, although no date has been announced for its launch.

There has been relatively good news on ARENA, which the Federal Government was attempting to strip of its remaining $1.3 billion of grant funding. Labor and the Coalition came to a compromise agreement to retain $800 million of funding for the energy R&D agency over the next five years.

In other Federal news, the Emissions Reduction Fund will be holding its 4th Auction on 16-17 November, however, proposals for the auction need to be in place long before then. If you have any proposals for Emissions Reduction Fund projects, please register them with the Clean Energy Regulator before 4th October.

There are three issues that have particularly stood out over the last month – residential disclosure, certificate schemes and energy market reform.

Residential disclosure

One of the major issues of 2016-17 is the development of a system for rating the energy efficiency of new and existing homes, sometimes called ‘Residential Disclosure’. A residential disclosure scheme is a critical tool for creating a market for energy efficiency in homes, in the same way that NABERS underpins the market for energy efficiency in offices, retail and, to a lesser extent, hotels.

A residential disclosure scheme would not only create an incentive for homeowners to upgrade their homes before they sell or lease them, but could also underpin a range of other programs, including minimum standards for residential rentals.

To be effective, a residential disclosure scheme would ultimately need to be mandatory at the point of lease and sale, like the Commercial Building Disclosure program. However, it’s likely that any scheme would be voluntary for at least its first two years. This would ensure that the inevitable bugs are knocked out of the system before it becomes mandatory.

Earlier this year Victoria announced that it would release a voluntary rating scheme, and the government will consult on the scheme in October. Other jurisdictions are considering how they might approach the issue, either separately or together. Residential disclosure will also be strengthened by the announcement that governments will fund the development of a NABERS rating tool for apartments, following advocacy by the City of Sydney and others.

Ensuring the design and implementation of residential disclosure programs results in an effective driver for energy efficiency investment is a key policy focus for the EEC, and I look forward to engaging with members on this issue. A range of bodies, including the EEC, AGL and CSIRO collaborated on a national research project called ‘EnergyFit’ that looked at the key issues for residential disclosure. If you are interested in this area the report released by the EnergyFit project earlier this year is an excellent backgrounder. 

Energy efficiency schemes

Victoria is continuing its work on changes to the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target, otherwise known as the Energy Saver Incentive (ESI), and the ACT has recently made significant changes to the lighting rules for its scheme. These changes will bring these energy efficiency schemes into much closer alignment with scheme in NSW.

The Victorian Government has largely finished its consultation on issues like allowing large energy users to generate certificates and its three project-based methods, including the Measurement and Verification method. Officials are now working to develop the regulations and systems that will be required to implement these changes. Based on the timeframes for passing regulations and setting up processes its likely that these changes will come into force in early 2017, although we remain hopeful that it could be earlier.

There has been a major push at a national level to further harmonise energy efficiency schemes, although there has also been some resistance to this process. I’ll be attending a joint meeting of governments on energy efficiency schemes in Canberra this month to present on the overall directions of the EEC’s Australian Energy Efficiency Policy Handbook, and will continue to push for harmonisation around the administrative aspects of the scheme.

Energy market reform

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has released proposed changes to the energy market rules (“draft determinations”). These proposed rules will create opportunities for members, but will take some time to come into effect. More importantly, they represent a part of a broader shift in the energy market.

Firstly, the AEMC has proposed to allow companies to register as ‘ancillary service providers’. This would allow companies to aggregate demand-response on customers’ sites (e.g. reduction of demand) to provide ‘frequency control ancillary services’ (FCAS). This potentially creates an additional stream of income for demand-response providers. However, the AEMC determined not to proceed with a mechanism to allow customers and aggregators to sell demand response into the wholesale energy market, despite the AEMC recommending this approach several times over the last five years.

Secondly, late last year the City of Sydney, the Property Council of Australia and the Total Environment Centre proposed a rule-change that would reward consumers of distributed generation systems with ‘Local Generation Network Credits’. The AEMC’s view is that this proposal wouldn’t benefit the energy market and won’t proceed with that mechanism. However, the AEMC has proposed that Distributed Network Service Providers (DNSPs) will have to publish a more comprehensive 'system limitations report' that would identify:

  • The name or identifier and location of network assets where a system limitation or projected system limitation has been identified;
  • The estimated timing of the system limitation or projected system limitation;
  • The proposed solution to remedy the system limitation;
  • The estimated capital or operating costs of the proposed solution; and
  • The amount by which peak demand at the location of the system limitation or projected system limitation would need to be reduced in order to defer the proposed solution, and the dollar value to the DNSP of each year of deferral.

This proposal should increase the transparency of the network planning processes, potentially making it easier (but by no means ‘easy’) to gain some funding from DNSPs for demand-side projects that reduce the need for network expenditure.

These two rule changes will slightly reduce the barriers to getting more demand-side investment in Australia. However, they are incremental changes, which is consistent with the general directions of national energy policy over the last decade. While the energy industry has seen dramatic changes in technology and is seeking a major shake up to our energy market rules, the national process is not delivering rapid changes.

This slow pace of change in national energy and carbon policy may well lead to more unilateral actions by states and territories. Over the last 15 years, states and territories that have been frustrated with national action have introduced a range of state-based measures. In the energy efficiency space, NSW, Victoria and the ACT in particular have introduced programs to fill the gap in nationally-coordinated policy.

South Australia is currently in a major political crisis around energy, which has only been heightened by yesterday's state-wide blackout. This is creating serious pressure for changes to network and generation policy. In Victoria, the Essential Services Commission (ESC) is, like the AEMC, considering a system for payments to reflect the benefits of distributed generation. The early indications are that the ESC is looking much more favourably than the AEMC on significant changes to the energy market, and this could result in state-based programs.

With the rapid changes in our energy sector being met by incrementalism by the AEMC, we can expect a patchwork of state interventions in energy policy. This will be far messier than nationally-consistent solutions, but might be inevitable if the pace of change of national energy market reform doesn’t speed up.

The gap in national coordination is not just being filled by states and territories, but also by industry. In August, EEC member AGL announced the world’s largest ‘virtual power plant’ (VPP). The VPP is a system of 1,000 batteries that are installed in homes and businesses in South Australia and will provide 5MW of peaking capacity.

Another EEC member, GreenSync, has announced its collaboration with United Energy (a Distributed Network Service Provider) to coordinate load and distributed generation in the Mornington Peninsula. This program aims to avoid the need to build a $30 million network asset that would only be needed for a handful of days every decade, delivering both lower bills and emissions to the region.

GreenSync is also working with AusNet to trial separating a small residential area from the grid, relying on batteries and local generation to provide services to this microgrid.

In the light of the South Australian blackout, these kinds of programs show a way forward that integrates distributed generation, batteries and demand-management to deliver a stronger, more stable grid. This transformation is inevitable - the key question is whether regulators will delay it or facilitate it.

Tech spotlight: Efficient alternatives to Steam

This month Bruce Rowse examines inefficiencies in steam usage and looks at some more efficient options.

There is a certain romance associated with steam. Perhaps its use in steam locomotives has many favourably disposed to it. However, when the efficiency of steam as a way of transmitting energy is examined closely this romance quickly disappears.

Steam is typically produced in gas fired boilers, although sometimes smaller electric boilers, bio-mass fired boilers, or coal fired boilers are used. Steam may be used in industrial processes, for sterilisation (hospitals) or cleaning (laundries), in thermal power generation, or a range of other applications. While the actual production of steam can be undertaken with a reasonable level of efficiency, overall system efficiency – calculated by dividing the energy in the useful heat by the input energy – tends to be low.

A typical steam system will comprise of one or more steam boilers, a steam reticulation system which could cover thousands of metres in length, steam traps where steam that has been used condenses, condensate return pumps, and then feedwater pumps that pressurise the returned condensate for supply back into the boilers.

Energy is wasted primarily through:

Conduction and radiation from hot surfaces. Heat losses from an exposed valve or unlagged steam pipes are very high, particularly the radiant heat losses (proportional to delta T to the fourth power). Losses can be particularly large with steam reticulation systems that have had various modifications made over the years.


An example of uninsulated pipes and valves

Leaks of either steam or condensate. 1 kg of steam lost represents roughly 0.7kWh of lost energy.


An extreme example of steam leakage

Losses during 'blow down' toprevent solids build up in the boiler. These can be high if the boiler is set to blow down frequently.

At low loads efficiency can be extremely poor, and systems with a large reticulation network have very high standby losses.

There are many mechanical components in a steam network, and maintenance requirements are high. Often systems are poorly maintained, which results in leaks and deterioration in insulation effectiveness. However, this deterioration may not result in much of a difference in the effectiveness of the service delivered. The boiler simply works harder to produce more steam to make up for the losses. So, with the exception of the increasing energy bill, the losses may be invisible and don’t attract the necessary maintenance effort. System efficiency is often below 50% and in extreme cases can be below 30%.

So whilst steam packs a lot of energy, steam systems are generally not that efficient. Efficiency may drop over time if maintenance is inadequate. So what are some of the alternatives?

  • Hot water. Is the end useful temperature provided by the steam below boiling point? By asking this question you can eliminate steam coils in radiators, air handling units, steam calorifiers and steam injection (i.e. into laundry washing machines).
  • Hot water and/or chemicals. Can the process be changed so that steam can be substituted with hot water? Can chemicals do the job of steam if it’s used for cleaning? For example, ozone injection can be used in laundries to reduce the need for heat.
  • Steam boiler substitutes. Substitutes include heat pumps and electric resistive heating on tracer pipes. Where waste heat is available, a heat pump can use this on the evaporator side to produce higher temperatures on the condenser side.  Where a large steam boiler is kept operating overnight to supply steam to tracer lines around product transfer pipes (to keep the product in the pipe in a molten state) electric tracers can be much more efficient if this means the boiler can be shut down. If the product's melting point is low enough you may even be able to use hot water trace heating.
  • Only using steam where there are no alternatives. If you have a system where some of the heat demand can only be provided by steam, but many of the other uses can be provided by alternatives such as hot water, redesign the system and provide a small steam boiler close to where it is needed. The smaller the system and the reticulation network, the easier it will be to maintain efficiency at a reasonable level.

Funding grants for women’s leadership development

Women & Leadership Australia are offering women working at Energy Efficiency Council members to access substantial grants for leadership development. 

In 2016 Women & Leadership Australia is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across all industry sectors.

The initiative will provide women working at Energy Efficiency Council members with grants for leadership development. Grant applications are open for women at three levels of leadership:

Please click on the preferred program link for details. The deadline for expressing your interest for this funding in your sector ends on Tuesday 15 December 2016.

Interested in applying for the scholarship grants?

Click here to download the expressions of interest form.  

Should you wish to discuss the initiative in more detail please contact Ian Johnson at the office of the National Industry Scholarship Program, Women and Leadership Australia on 03 9270 9016 or via

The Energy Efficiency Council is proud to support the development of women leaders in the energy efficiency sector. If you are interested in this work, please contact Daniela Vrljic at

Energy Efficiency Council at All-Energy Australia

The Energy Efficiency Council is proud to be sponsoring and presenting at the All-Energy Australia Conference and Exhibition 2016, taking place next week from Tuesday 4 – Wednesday 5 October at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. 

With more than 150 industry speakers, more than 100 exhibitors, two networking events and seven Conference streams, the All-Energy Australia Conference and Exhibition is back and bigger than ever.

The 2016 Conference program will centre on three core pillars: energy efficiency, smart grids and energy storage. The program also features key insights and updates surrounding community energy, bioenergy, government initiatives, low carbon transport, market developments, new technology innovation, solar and wind developments, and clean energy project development.

The Energy Efficiency Council will be exhibiting at stand number 1550, make sure you come down and say hello to one of our friendly staff members!

Our very own Chief Executive Officer, Luke Menzel will be chairing the session titled ‘The Building Blocks of Energy Efficiency’ on Tuesday 4 October between 1.20pm – 2.40pm, taking place in Room 213.

Hosted by the Energy Efficiency Council, the session will give energy managers and efficiency professionals a primer on two of the key building blocks of successful energy efficiency projects – energy auditing and measurement and verification. Some of Australia’s leading experts including, Dr Paul Bannister, Manager Projects and Advisory Services Division, Energy Action, Neil Salisbury, Managing Director, Point Advisory and Director, Efficiency Valuation Organisation and Steve McCaffrey, Energy Specialist, Honeywell Energy Solutions and Certified Energy Efficiency Leader will provide examples of how to use these vital components to achieve real world results, delivering significant and measurable energy savings benefits.

For more information on the energy efficiency program click here.

The All-Energy Conference and Exhibition is free to attend. To access the 2016 program and to register for free, visit the All-Energy Australia website by clicking here.

New Masterclasses for Business & Industry

The EEC is pleased to announce that two new training programs will be delivered this November in conjunction with the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2016. Additional training dates for our existing programs have also been scheduled. 

Battery Storage for Business – 15 November 2016, Sydney

Click here for more information or to register

A one-day Masterclass on integrating new battery technologies into projects for energy users and energy efficiency professionals.

This exciting new Masterclass is designed to help professionals confidently navigate through this new and complex environment. Masterclass participants will gain an understanding of both technical and financial considerations and the benefits, risks and usage scenarios for different battery chemistries.

The Masterclass includes analysis of the business case for batteries through strategies like tariff optimisation, peak demand shaving and capturing PV exports.

Masterclass tickets include:

  • Access to the day’s first plenary Conference session
  • Morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and end of day networking drinks
  • Networking opportunities with leaders in energy efficiency, cogeneration and demand management
  • Training materials and access to post Masterclass support through the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Energy Efficient Business Team.

The Masterclass commences at 11.00am. Ticket includes access to the Conference between 8.00am – 10.30am on Tuesday 15 November, including the opening plenary session ‘Global forces and world markets for energy efficiency’, featuring our international keynote speaker Dr Brian Motherway, Head of Energy Efficiency at the International Energy Agency.

Energy Management for Facility Managers – 16 November 2016, Sydney

Click here for more information or to register

A one-day Masterclass for facility managers looking to implement sensible energy management practices across their business.

Developed by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage in conjunction with the Facility Management Association, this Masterclass is designed to help participants gain practical knowledge, skills and tools for implementing energy management practices as a business strategy in their role as Facility Manager.

Masterclass participants will learn how to develop a strategic energy management plan, further understand the hierarchy of energy management, gain insight into how to build a business case and how to drive continuous improvements in business, going beyond the ‘quick wins’.

Masterclass tickets include:

  • Access to the day’s first plenary Conference session
  • Morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and end of day networking drinks
  • Networking opportunities with leaders in energy efficiency, cogeneration and demand management
  • Training materials and access to post Masterclass support through the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Energy Efficient Business Team.

The Masterclass commences at 11.00am. Ticket includes access to the Conference between 8.00am – 10.30am on Wednesday 16 November, including the opening plenary session ‘Health, productivity and efficient buildings’.


Energy Auditing to the Australian Standard – 13 December 2016, Sydney

Click here for more information or to register

The EEC's Energy Auditing to the Australian Standard training program gives energy audit practitioners the skills and knowledge to deliver energy audits that meet with Australian Standard 3598:2014 


Certified Measurement & Verification Professional​ training – 30 November - 2 December 2016, Melbourne

Click here for more information or to register

With the initials ‘CMVP’ beside your name, you are distinguishing yourself among those involved professionally in areas requiring the application of accurate and reliable measurement and verification methodologies. You will have demonstrated high levels of experience, competence, and specialised knowledge within your field.

National Energy Efficiency Conference – Early Bird ends tomorrow!

An unparalleled line up of local and international speakers will be joining us for the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2016, set to take place over 15 – 16 November at Australian Technology Park, Sydney. Save up to $500 by registering before this Friday 30 September!

The Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) has unveiled an unparalleled line up of local and international speakers for the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2016which is set to take place over 15 – 16 November at Australian Technology Park, Sydney. The Conference is Australia’s premier annual event on energy productivity and brings together up to 350 efficiency leaders, innovators, energy users and policy makers.

This year the EEC, Australia's peak body for energy efficiency, distributed generation and demand management, is delivering the Conference in collaboration with the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Energy in Buildings & Communities Programme(EBC).

The theme of this year's Conference is Building expertise and growing markets. Some Conference program highlights include:

  • Political keynote presentations from The Hon Mark Speakman MP, NSW Minister for Environment and Heritage and The Hon Mark Butler MP, Federal Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy
  • High profile presentations and panel discussions with over 35 speakers, innovators and energy users, including, Jennifer Conley, Executive Director, Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council, Amanda McKenzie, Chief Executive Officer, Climate Council, Mike Underhill, Chief Executive, New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, Ken Morrison, Chief Executive, Property Council of Australia
  • Separately ticketed technical Masterclasses including, Energy management for facility managers, delivered in collaboration with the Facility Management Association and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and Battery storage for business delivered in collaboration with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
  • The unveiling of the winners of the National Energy Efficiency Awards 2016, at the memorable Gala Dinner on the evening of Tuesday 15 November.

Early Bird ends this Friday 30 September 2016

Click here to view the Conference program, register and learn about sponsorship and exhbition opportunities.

Click here to view further information regarding the technical Masterclasses.

Remember to follow us on Twitter @EECouncil or on LinkedIn for all the latest on EEC activities!