Australia confirmed as a global laggard on energy efficiency 21 July 2016

A global assessment of the energy efficiency of the world's biggest energy consumers has found Australia is a long way behind other industrialised countries.

Australia's poor energy efficiency performance reduces Australia’s international competitiveness, increases our energy bills and greenhouse gases, and increases the number of Australians that die each year during hot and cold weather (currently 3,000 per annum).

The 2016 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard produced by respected US think tank the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), ranked Australia 16 out of 23 countries in a comprehensive assessment that took into account both energy efficiency performance and policy settings.

Source: ACEEE, 2016 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, p. 4.

EEC Chief Executive Officer Luke Menzel welcomed the report, saying it underlined the cold hard fact that Australia has fallen well behind our global competitors.

“Australia lags well behind other wealthy countries on energy efficiency, in fact we’re in the same group as Russia, Mexico, Indonesia and Thailand. Australia’s consistently poor rankings for smart energy use are a direct result of energy efficiency being an afterthought in our energy policy."

"Australia continues to fall behind while leaders like Germany take an integrated approach, investing in energy efficiency, battery storage and low carbon generation at the same time."

ACEEE's assessment took into account energy efficiency performance metrics in the building, industrial and transport sectors, as well as government commitments and actions on best practice policy.

"Australia's performance on building efficiency is reasonable, ranking 9th out of 23 countries. This is due to sensible rules that protect businesses by requiring office owners to advertise how efficient their buildings are when they sell and lease them," says Mr. Menzel.

"However Australia's score for industrial energy efficiency is woeful; out of 23 nations Australia ranked 21st. Brazil, Mexico and Russia all performed better than Australia on industrial efficiency, and only South Africa and Saudi Arabia performed worse. "

“Successive federal governments have largely ignored energy efficiency and this has badly dented our economy. However, the new Minister for Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg has moved energy efficiency to the top of the agenda. Last year, as Minister for Energy and Resources, he set a target to improve Australia’s energy productivity (a measure of energy efficiency) by 40 per cent by 2030," Mr Menzel says.

“To deliver on this target the Minister will need to make serious reforms. I'm hopeful this terrible global ranking is the wake-up that prompts the energy sector to get behind the Minister.”

This week, the Energy Efficiency Council released the Australian Energy Efficiency Policy Handbook which aims to kick-start a discussion about the actions necessary to meet Australia’s energy productivity target, and sets out a suite of evidence-based recommendations.

“This week we released a comprehensive Handbook that sets out how Australia can get on track to meet its energy productivity target. We're looking forward to working with Minister Frydenberg to make Australia an energy efficiency leader,” Mr Menzel concludes.

The 2016 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard is available online

The Australian Energy Efficiency Policy Handbook is at the EEC website:

Media contact
Rob Murray-Leach    
Head of Policy     
Energy Efficiency Council   
M: 0414 065 556