Training & Events

Training & Events

National Summit: Energy efficiency and Australia’s economic recovery

Wednesday 1 July 2020


National Summit wrap up

On Wednesday 1 July 2020 ACOSS, Ai Group, the Energy Efficiency Council and the Property Council of Australia held a National Summit on energy efficiency and Australia's economic recovery. The National Summit was supported by a coalition of industry and community groups, and attended by over 500 live participants.

Energy efficiency and Australia’s economic recovery brought together leaders from politics, business, the community sector and beyond. Together, they highlighted how we must put energy efficiency at the heart of Australia’s economic recovery.

Missed the National Summit? Watch the whole thing on YouTube!

However, you may also find it useful to reflect on some of our key take outs:

1.      There is an extraordinary consensus that governments should invest in energy efficiency to stimulate the economy

“If you’re looking for consensus – broad-based support for something - I’ve not seen anything like what we’re seeing in terms of support for investment in energy efficiency”

Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service

 2.      This consensus exists because energy efficiency delivers both immediate stimulus and multiple long-term benefits

“The reason why we have put this energy efficiency package forward is that one, it’s a jobs machine, and second it’s one of the cheapest tools to help us cut emissions and meet our Paris targets”

Ken Morrison, CEO, Property Council of Australia

“Ai Group are backing and barracking for energy efficiency upgrades, because they are a way to score five goals off one kick. You can grow jobs, you can cut costs, you can improve health, you can strengthen energy systems and you can slash emissions at the same time”

Tennant Reed, Head of Energy, Climate and Environment Policy, Australian Industry Group

“People are starting to understand more that energy efficiency is the cheapest way to get emissions down, but it also has the double benefit of creating jobs and making energy more affordable”

Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change

 3.      Energy efficiency creates exactly the jobs we need right now

“I called energy efficiency the swiss army knife of the stimulus spend because it does three things really well. In short term stimulus, you get money into the hands of plumbers and sparkies and brickies and plasterers… all the people involved in delivering energy efficiency… if they get money in their pocket it will have a very rapid multiplier effect in the economy. They ‘ll get it and they’ll spend and spend it in their communities.”

Micheal Liebreich, CEO Liebreich Associates

“You’ve heard a lot about how jobs rich this is… let’s back in investment that can be tailored to local conditions, great energy efficiency, jobs rich and jobs that are suitable for local communities, in contrast to ‘big infrastructure’”

Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service

4.      Energy efficiency is essential to cut bills, especially for vulnerable Australians

“Over the 11 years that it’s been running, the Victorian Energy Upgrades Program has saved partcipiants about $3 billion, and it’s available to all residents, small medium sized businesses and supports 2,200 job, and reduced peak demand by 900 GW. It’s a winner.”

Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change

“Pre- COVID there were 3 million people living below the poverty line. We know that unemployment is the greatest risk in terms of people becoming deeply financially distressed… we should be doing everything we can to lower people’s out of pocket bills…”

Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service

“Forty-six per cent of Australians are currently working from home. In Victoria, residential energy consumption has gone up by about twenty-seven per cent compared to last year, and we haven’t even really got to winter yet”

Alison Rowe, CEO, Australian Energy Foundation

5.      Energy efficiency boosts competitiveness and economic productivity

“We’re a small open market economy, and our fortunes will be determined by global megatrends. There’s no bigger megatrend than the move towards zero net emissions.”

Hon Matt Kean MP, New South Wales Minister for Energy and Environment

“[Energy efficiency] also has a long term multiplier, because you are improving the asset base of the economy… because you are improving the energy efficiency of your housing stock, your commercial buildings and your industry, and you reduce the input costs of your economy. It’s like you finally have your handbreak fixed, and you don’t have to drive around with it on…. That has a long-term multiplier effect.”

Micheal Liebreich, CEO Liebreich Associates

6.      We have to improve energy productivity to meet our climate goals

“Efficiency is the single best thing we can be aspiring to… the gigawatt that you don’t need to generate is the best kind of low-emissions generation.”

Dr Alan Finkel AO, Australia’s Chief Scientist

“To meet our Paris targets we need to do both deep energy efficiency and renewables. If we don’t reduce our energy use while we are [building renewables], it will take us longer and cost us a lot more.”

Hon. Matt Kean MP, New South Wales Minister for Energy and Environment

“Even to get to 2 degrees we’re talking about a 25 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030, and if you do that at the same time as creating jobs and continuing these great trends in the developing world… reducing poverty… we need the economic growth… You’re talking about having to reduce emissions per unit of economic value add by somewhere around 4 or 5 per cent per year… I love wind, I love solar… I love batteries… I even love nuclear if anyone can do it at an effective cost point and manage all the other issues… but the supply-side alone won’t get you to the trajectories that we need to be on… It’s not VIRTUALLY impossible to [tackle climate change] with the supply side alone… you’ve got an extra word in there you don’t need. It is impossible to get to the trajectory we need with supply-side only.”

Micheal Liebreich, CEO Liebreich Associates

7.      You need energy efficiency and smart energy management to unlock the full potential of renewable generation

“Energy efficiency is two different things – it’s the technologies that reduce the amount of energy that you need, but it’s also the enabling technologies that enable allow you to use those highly visible generation technologies more effectively… There’s no question that the ultimate limitation to bringing in more solar and wind is being able to do that and keep the system stable – and match loads to the supply. There’s just a huge opportunity for enabling technologies such as artificial intelligence at the operating system level, digitalisation of virtually everything in the network, two-way communication”

Dr Alan Finkel AO, Australia’s Chief Scientist

Joint statement: Energy efficiency is a machine for creating jobs - time to start it up

On Friday 3 July ACOSS, Ai Group, the Energy Efficiency Council and the Proeprty Council released a joint statement on creating an efficient recovery for Australia.

Read it here.

National Summit recordings

National Summit highlights

Part 1

  • Opening address
  • In conversation with Dr Alan Finkel AO, Australia's Chief Scientist
  • Ministerial interviews with:
    • The Hon. Lily D'Ambrosio MP, Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change
    • The Hon. Matt Kean MP, NSW Minister for Energy and Environment

Part 2

  • Leaders' Panel discussion, with:
    • Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, ACOSS
    • Ken Morrison, CEO, Property Council of Australia
    • Tennant Reed, Head of Climate, Energy and Environmental Policy, Ai Group
    • Alison Rowe, CEO, Australian Energy Foundation

Part 3

  • In conversation with Michael Liebreich, Chairman and CEO, Liebreich Associates and member of the Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency
  • Closing statements

First Fuel podcast episode 10: Swiss Army Knife of stimulus with Michael Liebreich

Episode 10 of the Council's very own podcast, First Fuel, is now available. The episode delivers the conversation between Luke Menzel and our keynote speaker at the National Summit on Energy efficiency and Australia's economic recovery, Michael Liebreich.

Michael made many great points, especially around the role of energy efficiency in lowering carbon intensity so we have the headroom we need to drive economic growth on the other side of this crisis - with a swiss army knife of stimulus no less.

Listen to the podcast here.

More information on Australia's efficient recovery

The National Summit followed an unprecedented wave of energy efficiency as stimulus proposals from Australian industry, consumer and environmental groups in recent weeks.

For more information, click here.