The Energy Efficiency Council's 12 days of Efficiencymas 25 December 2019

2019 marked a big year at the Energy Efficiency Council: ten years championing the role of energy management, the release of The world's first fuel, the inaugural Energy Efficiency Expo... 2020 is going to be even bigger!

The Council will continue to drive forward the debate around smart energy management with support from our members. The world’s first fuel and the energy briefing will continue to be useful tools for policymakers and businesses, guiding their decision-making around energy strategy and management, and facilitating an affordable, reliable and sustainable transition of Australia’s energy systems.

As you relax this holiday season, catch up on some big topics in energy management from the past year while soaking in some sun.

Day one: The world's first fuel

In case anyone had forgotten, energy efficiency is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to slash energy bills, improve system reliability and reduce emissions. In recognition of this fact, in September fifteen countries formed the Three Percent Club, a coalition to increase energy intensity improvements by three per cent each year. According to the IEA, this three percent annual improvement in energy efficiency will enable up to 40% of the emissions reductions needed to achieve the Paris Agreement, while substantially lowering household and business energy bills.

However, the current global growth rate for energy efficiency is 1.2 percent, the lowest growth ratesince 2010. Australia isn’t part of this coalition and is currently ranked the worst developed country for energy efficiency policy and performance. So, there's lots of opportunity!

Read more about the coalition and find the IEA’s Energy Efficiency 2019 report here.

Day two: ambition and targets

This year, the California Energy Commission approved the 2019 California Energy Efficiency Action Plan, setting out a goal to double energy efficiency and substantially reduce carbon emissions. Included in the plan are recommendations to develop energy efficiency as a resource for procurement purposes, increase support for energy efficiency workforce development, and grow the demand flexible technology market.

In 2020 we’ll continue to push for similar ambition and targets in Australia, highlighting the potential for economic, social and environmental progress by growing the market for smart energy management.

Day three: energy market reforms

In November, the AEMC released a paper discussing the digitalisation of the National Electricity Market (NEM), which highlighted that platforms utilised by companies like eBay and Airbnb are a means to realise a two-sided energy market. The automation and proliferation of smart appliances, combined with the decentralisation of generation, will allow consumers to enter the energy market with energy flexibility services from demand management and behind-the-meter generation. This will lower their energy bills while taking pressure off the grid and reducing system costs.

Day four: energy efficiency schemes

The NSW Energy Security Safeguard (ESS), a revamp and substantial expansionof its previous Energy Savings Scheme, was announced in November.  The ESS, as part of the NSW Electricity Strategy, will ensure reliable and affordable electricity supply for NSW while lowering emissions through the expansion of energy efficient technologies and appliances that utilise demand response. An accompanying Renewable Energy Zone will provide the generation needed to further reduce energy bills and lower emissions.

Day five: appliances

Appliance and equipment standards are often key to lowering household and business energy bills and emissions. In recognition of this, earlier this year, the Hawaii Government went beyond federal energy efficiency standards to save residents and businesses up to US$537 million over the next 15 years.

We’re keeping things federalised in Australia, with demand response enabled devices soon to be required for selected appliances, including air conditioners. ARENA is also rolling out a trial on how best to integrate smart appliances, devices and technology to empower consumers.

Day six: industry

There are big opportunities to improve energy management in industry, and automation and digitalisation are key to unlocking them. For example, data centres are becoming huge consumers of electricity and carbon emitters. In recognition of this issue, leading data centre operators are examining the PUE – power usage effectiveness ratio – to reduce cooling demand and manage energy expenditure. Innovation like this is key to the continued advancement of energy management in Australia and abroad.

Day seven: buildings

Even when not covered in Christmas lights, buildings account for nearly a quarter of Australia’s emissions, so implementing energy efficiency measures in existing buildings would have a huge impact on reducing overall emissions, and on cutting energy bills. The Property Council of Australia and Green Building Council of Australia released Every Building Counts this October, outlining policy recommendations for federal, state and territory, and local government policy makers to improve Australia’s new and existing building stock.

With the COAG Energy Council approving the Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings, 2019 has been a big year. But 2020 will be even more important, and we’ll continue to work collaboratively with the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council, wider industry, consumer groups and government to ensure that energy management leads the transition.

Day eight: transport

While electric vehicles are far from the norm in Australia in 2019, they’ll fast be cost-competitive with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, and are going to be an important part of the transition to a low-carbon economy. Planning is needed now to manage the impact of the additional demand they will create on the grid, as even low rates of EV ownership can have negative impacts. Research from earlier this year shows that embracing demand management and shifting charging times can largely mitigate this problem.

And never fear, while we wait for EVs to take over, we’ll continue to fight the hard fight on fuel efficiency standards for ICE vehicles.

Day nine: energy strategy for business


Energy strategy rose up the agenda in 2019, and even made the front page of Company Director in February. With 50 per cent of directors rating energy policy as the number one issue government should address, it’s clear that this issue has become front of mind. Energy strategy and management is central to enabling competitive and productive businesses in Australia, and in 2020 we’ll continue to support businesses through Australia’s energy transition through our energy briefing work.

Day ten: businesses leveraging the energy market transformation

Businesses have plenty of opportunity to take advantage of Australia’s energy market transformation. Specifically, as the generation mix changes, the grid decentralises and the demand profile shifts, businesses can tap into these changes to cut costs and carbon.

At Clean energy, meet smart energy we learnt how Molycop Australasia was implementing demand response and embracing renewable energy to lower energy costs.

Day eleven: how businesses are taking control with energy management

YHA took advantage of NSW’s Sustainability Advantage program to reduce its energy consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Energy efficiency measures were an essential way to achieve this. A strategic sustainability plan and buy-in from management helped the chain reduce its operating costs and meet its sustainability goals.

If you’re keen to see what other leading businesses are doing to take control of their energy costs, head on over to and read case studies from some of Australia’s leading businesses.

Day twelve: 2020 Energy Efficiency Council priorities

"We have come a long way but there is more to do: the next year is one of profound opportunity, and I believe we all need to step up to secure the role of energy management , energy efficiency and demand response in the energy transition,” says Council President, Prof Tony Arnel.

Read his end of year message Having an impact in 2020 here.

From all of us at the Energy Efficiency Council, we wish you a very merry festive season!