Policy & Projects

Policy & Projects

CURRENT EEC PROJECTS

The Energy Efficiency Council leads, and partners on, a range of projects which build the market for energy efficiency, support efficiency providers and energy users and drive effective partnership across the sector.

COMPRESSED AIR SYSTEM EFFICIENCY COMPETENCY – NSW MANUFACTURERS

Compressed air is used in a wide range of industries, as a source of energy to do mechanical work or as an input in the production process. It is estimated that 10 per cent of all industrial electricity consumption in Australia is used in powering compressed air systems.

Addressing compressed air system inefficiency is the biggest electrical energy savings opportunity in NSW manufacturing. Savings of up to 50 per cent of the energy used by a compressed air system are achievable by implementing a range of low capital cost, simple-to-do actions.

As part of a suite of planned initiatives to support NSW businesses to realise these efficiencies, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) has engaged the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) to identify options for building the competency of those involved in implementing compressed air system efficiency opportunities and initiatives to support project implementation.

The project will leverage resources including the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage “I am your compressed air guide” to establish a clear process for the implementation of compressed air system efficiency opportunities, identify key internal and external stakeholders in the process along with the knowledge, skills and experience required by stakeholders to participate effectively. 

Through a process of consultation, common gaps in those required competencies will be identified, with recommendations and options to address these gaps developed.

The EEC will be seeking to engage with a wide range of participants in the compressed air industry including users of compressed air technology, manufacturers and distributors of compressed air technologies and external advisors.

Past projects

ENERGY EFFICIENCY EMPLOYMENT IN AUSTRALIA

Energy efficiency has played a key role in improving Australians’ wealth, health and wellbeing. More efficient businesses are more productive, and more efficient homes are cooler in summer, warmer in winter, healthier and cheaper to run. Improving the energy efficiency of Australian homes and businesses is the largest opportunity we have to reduce households’ energy bills.

To date, very little work has been undertaken to estimate the number of people employed in energy efficiency in Australia. The Energy Efficiency Council and the Energy Savings Industry Association commissioned Green Energy Markets to estimate:

  • Upper and lower bound estimates of the number of people currently working in energy efficiency activities in Australia. The estimates of current employment figures are based on a range of existing sources of information; and
  • The employment that would be created by government policies that drive the adoption of a series of technologically mature energy efficiency upgrades to homes and businesses.

Green Energy Markets’ analysis suggested that there are large numbers of current workers in energy efficiency – in fact there are more FTE in energy efficiency than any other part of the energy sector. This scale of employment makes common sense – Australia has tens of millions of buildings and units of energy-using equipment, and a large workforce is required to build, use and maintain these assets. Green Energy Markets also found that, if Australian governments were to adopt policies aimed as accelerating energy efficiency improvement of this large number of assets, it would generate significant levels of employment.

Our energy efficiency workforce has been hiding in plain sight. This report shines a light into a major part of our economy that is worthy of far more attention.

Read the full report

Read the executive summary

ENERGY STRATEGY FOR AUSTRALIAN DIRECTORS AND EXECUTIVES

New support for business leaders to manage energy as a strategic issue.

Historically, Australian businesses have had a big competitive advantage: access to cheap electricity and gas. However, energy costs have risen significantly in recent years, elevating energy to a top tier strategic issue for many companies.

The energy cost burden felt by businesses can result in the diversion of funds from core areas, lowering productivity and the curtailing of job growth.

The Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) with the support of the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is delivering an engagement program to boost the capability of directors and senior executives to engage with energy as a strategic issue, including measures for improved energy efficiency.

Building this capacity in business leaders will ensure that appropriate energy strategies are put in place to manage risks and capture opportunities, and that staff are mobilised to respond appropriately.

The engagement program includes the development of an executive-level briefing document to be launched at a major Melbourne event, followed by a series of boardroom briefings to Victorian companies. The launch event will feature an international expert in energy strategy, while the boardroom briefings will be led by a high-profile local advocate for a sophisticated approach to managing business energy issues.

Alongside the core briefing document, the EEC will create a complementary briefing document tailored for senior departmental executives within government.

The EEC is undertaking additional research on:

  • Targeted engagement pathways with the top three management tiers – directors, executives and senior managers in business.
  • The need for additional resources to increase strategic energy management capabilities at each of these levels.

Overall, the project will build the capacity of both businesses and government to implement systems and practices that lower exposure to energy price rises and improve energy productivity.

The executive-level briefing documents are currently under development with a launch anticipated in July 2018.

BOOSTING SMALL BUSINESS ENERGY EFFICIENCY THROUGH ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION

In its just released 2018 Budget, the Federal Government announced a further extension to the $20,000 small business instant asset write-off initiative. This initiative allows businesses with an annual turnover of up to $10 million to immediately deduct for the cost of each business asset up to $20,000, improving cash flow and helping them to reinvest in their business and replace or upgrade their assets.

Many energy efficiency projects in small businesses typically require less than $20,000 or less than $20,000 per asset. For example, it could include a $15,000 lighting upgrade, a $10,000 controls upgrade and a $10,000 investment in insulation. Similarly, an investment of $20,000 in renewable energy could buy a 15 kW solar power system or a 3 – 5 kW wind turbine (costs net of renewable energy certificates).

This project will help small business owners make use of the Federal Government small business instant asset write-off initiative to boost their energy efficiency. It will develop new tools and materials and get them into the hands and minds of business owners, energy efficiency service providers and small business advisors.

The project has been funded under the City of Sydney Knowledge Exchange Sponsorship program.

GAS EFFICIENCY OPPORTUNITY GUIDE

Australia’s energy sector is in a period of profound change. The nation’s traditional competitive advantage – the cheap unit cost of electricity and gas – has dissipated. Eastern Australian gas prices have risen rapidly, and are projected to rise further.

Many gas intensive businesses in Australia are largely unaware of the steps they can take to quickly lower their gas bills, and information on this topic is not readily available.

The Energy Efficiency Council has partnered with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to produce a practical, user-friendly gas efficiency guide for executives and site managers in gas intensive manufacturers.

The guide will provide an up to date, credible and plain language briefing on the Australian gas market landscape and the define the scale of financial and GHG emission reduction opportunity. It will include a straightforward portfolio of efficiency and fuel switching options available to businesses to proactively manage their gas use and reduce GHG emissions and implementation guidance.

The guide is planned for release in June 2018.

Energy productivity skills and training pathway

Examination of the range of essential skills, knowledge and experience required to provide energy efficiency and energy productivity services, and mechanisms for boosting the level and availability of these competencies in the marketplace. Partner: Department of the Environment and Energy.

Click here to view.

Energy Auditor Pathway to Certification

To define a professional development pathway for Australia’s energy auditors and establish an appropriate model for an auditor certification scheme. Partners: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Sustainability Victoria. (report on request)

SMEs and community organisations: enabling best practice energy efficiency

A guide to those seeking to support SMEs, identifying best practices in the delivery of energy efficiency information and grant programs for SMEs. Partner: Department of the Environment and Energy.

Click here to view.

Connecting SMMs with expert energy efficiency support

Critical success factors for connecting SMM energy users to skilled service providers. Partner: Department of the Environment and Energy.

Click here to view.

Building Retrofit Toolkit

A five-year project plan to uplift the energy efficiency business skills and action of mid-tier office building owners. Partner: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

Click here to view.

Understanding the NSW Energy Efficiency Services Market

Development of a suite metrics able to provide critical insight into the health and maturity of Energy Efficiency Services Market (EESM). Partner: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH). (report on request)

Building energy upgrade information for building owners and managers

Production of a website and brochures to guide building owners, facility managers and other buyers of building energy efficiency services in engaging suitably qualified and experienced service providers. Partner: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).

Click here to view.

Building upgrade services directory

The Building Upgrade Services Directory brings together information the key industry bodies, professional associations and certifications whose membership includes experts in building upgrades, providing owners and managers of commercial buildings and multi-unit residential dwellings information that assists them to identify service providers they can trust. Partner: City of Sydney.

Click here to view.

Survey of national opinion on electricity prices and energy efficiency

In late 2013 the Energy Efficiency Council, CHOICE and Brotherhood of St Laurence undertook a major national survey on household views on energy.  The survey found that householders are more concerned about electricity bills than other cost-of-living expenses and want their State Governments to help reduce energy costs through energy efficiency. (report on request)

ENERGY BILLS & ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Survey of community views by YouGov Galaxy
April 2018

In many parts of Australia electricity prices have almost doubled and wholesale gas prices have more than tripled over the last decade. Many Australians are struggling with high energy bills. Helping homes and businesses save energy is a highly effective way to reduce energy bills while improving energy security and sustainability.

The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS), the Property Council of Australia (PCA) and the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) all share the goal of ensuring that energy bills are affordable for homes and businesses. In February 2018 these groups commissioned YouGov Galaxy to survey on the views of Australians on energy policy, with a focus on energy efficiency.

Click here to download the Survey results.

Quick snapshot of some of the results:

  • 90 per cent of voters think that it is important or very important that governments help reduce households’ and businesses’ energy bills
  • Energy efficiency was the most popular energy policy option:
    • 88 per cent of voters support government investment in energy efficiency, and just 5 per cent oppose it, giving a net support of 83 per cent.
    • Voters were more divided on whether government should invest in new coal-fired generators, with just 4 per cent net support, and
    • More voters opposed than supported reducing incentives for renewable energy and energy storage, with 16 per cent net opposition.
  • Voters supported a wide range of specific energy efficiency policies, including:
    • 79 per cent support for incentives to upgrade commercial buildings
    • 80 per cent support for minimum standards for rental homes to ensure that they are safe, comfortable and have low energy bills, and
    • 92 per cent support for upgrading the energy efficiency of public buildings such as schools and hospitals.

Raw data from the survey can be downloaded here.

 

Survey of national opinion on electricity prices and energy efficiency

In late 2013 the Energy Efficiency Council, CHOICE and the Brotherhood of St Laurence undertook a major national survey on household views on energy.

The survey found that householders are more concerned about electricity bills than other cost-of-living expenses and want their State Governments to help reduce energy costs.  CHOICE's chief executive officer, Alan Kirkland, said the survey revealed that 84 per cent of Australian households are concerned or very concerned about energy costs, despite them spending more on other cost-of-living expenses.

"Electricity prices have risen by more than 50% over the past five years, largely driven by increased costs for poles and wires, so it is no surprise that households are more concerned about electricity bills than any other cost of living" Mr Kirkland said.  "When they try to shop around for a better deal, they find it difficult to compare the confusing array of offers from energy retailers."

Nationally, 84%of Australians felt it was important or very important for their State Government to help reduce energy bills.  The breakdowns were 90% in South Australia, 85% in NSW, 84% in Western Australia, 83% in Queensland and 82% in Victoria.

The Energy Efficiency Council's chief executive officer, Rob Murray-Leach, said households were asked whether they supported or opposed a range of actions that State Government could take to help reduce energy bills.

"The strongest support in every state, and by a significant margin, was for State Governments to help homes and businesses save energy," Mr Murray-Leach said.  "Nationally, there was a 79%support for action on energy efficiency and less than 2% opposition to it.  Householders seemed to think that this was a "no-brainer"."

Damian Sullivan, Senior Manager of the Brotherhood's Equity in Response to Climate Change, said Australians have "long supported the idea we should assist low-income households to pay for essential services like electricity and the survey shows continued support for this approach.  This makes sense because low income and disadvantaged households are the most vulnerable to high energy prices."

"Along with pushing ahead with energy market reform, State Governments need to do more to assist low income and disadvantaged households improve the energy efficiency of their homes," he said.  "Importantly, householders don't want action for energy affordability to come at the expense of a renewable energy."

The least popular action in the survey was reducing incentives for renewable energy such as solar power, which had a negative approval rating in every state.

Mr Murray-Leach said there was a danger the national debate about the carbon bill meant other expenditures that have an even bigger impact on energy costs, like poles and wires, could be ignored or overlooked.

"We call on State Governments to revitalise their work to keep energy affordable and help households cope with higher energy costs."

Click on survey results below:

BOOSTING SMALL BUSINESS ENERGY EFFICIENCY THROUGH ACCELERATED DEPRECIATION

In the 2018 Budget, the Federal Government announced a further extension to the $20,000 small business instant asset write-off initiative. This initiative allows businesses with an annual turnover of up to $10 million to immediately deduct for the cost of each business asset up to $20,000, improving cash flow and helping them to reinvest in their business and replace or upgrade their assets.

The Energy Efficiency Council, with the support from the City of Sydney, has produced a set of materials to help small business owners, energy efficiency service providers and small business advisors make use of this initiative. 

Many energy efficiency projects in small businesses typically require less than $20,000 or less than $20,000 per asset. For example, it could include a $15,000 lighting upgrade, a $10,000 controls upgrade and a $10,000 investment in insulation. Similarly, an investment of $20,000 in renewable energy could buy a 15 kW solar power system or a 3 – 5 kW wind turbine (costs net of renewable energy certificates).

The materials will help small business owners make use of the Federal Government small business instant asset write-off initiative to boost their energy efficiency. It will develop new tools and materials and get them into the hands and minds of business owners, energy efficiency service providers and small business advisors.

Download a copy of the materials here.

In addition to the materials, the Energy Efficiency Council is offering free webinars for organisations who want to learn out more about how the initiative could work in their businesses. To register your interest, click here or email andrea.von@eec.org.au.

Further information is available from the Australian Tax Office. If in doubt speak with your trusted financial adviser before making your purchase to ensure both you and your small business will benefit.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY EMPLOYMENT IN AUSTRALIA

Energy efficiency has played a key role in improving Australians’ wealth, health and wellbeing. More efficient businesses are more productive, and more efficient homes are cooler in summer, warmer in winter, healthier and cheaper to run. Improving the energy efficiency of Australian homes and businesses is the largest opportunity we have to reduce households’ energy bills.

To date, very little work has been undertaken to estimate the number of people employed in energy efficiency in Australia. The Energy Efficiency Council and the Energy Savings Industry Association commissioned Green Energy Markets to estimate:

  • Upper and lower bound estimates of the number of people currently working in energy efficiency activities in Australia. The estimates of current employment figures are based on a range of existing sources of information; and
  • The employment that would be created by government policies that drive the adoption of a series of technologically mature energy efficiency upgrades to homes and businesses.

Green Energy Markets’ analysis suggested that there are large numbers of current workers in energy efficiency – in fact there are more FTE in energy efficiency than any other part of the energy sector. This scale of employment makes common sense – Australia has tens of millions of buildings and units of energy-using equipment, and a large workforce is required to build, use and maintain these assets. Green Energy Markets also found that, if Australian governments were to adopt policies aimed as accelerating energy efficiency improvement of this large number of assets, it would generate significant levels of employment.

Our energy efficiency workforce has been hiding in plain sight. This report shines a light into a major part of our economy that is worthy of far more attention.

Read the full report

Read the executive summary