Bipartisan committee calls for action on industrial energy efficiency 06 February 2018
A bipartisan Federal Parliamentary committee has recommended that the Turnbull Government work with large industrial users to identify opportunities for smarter energy use, to bring down costs and balance supply and demand in Australia’s energy system.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy – made up of Government, Opposition and Greens MPs – argues for ‘a more concerted investment in demand response and energy efficiency policy settings’ to help solve Australia’s energy challenges.
The new report, which canvassed a range of actions to modernise Australia’s electricity grid, recommends that the Turnbull Government work with large industrial users to identify ‘short-term and long-term opportunities for demand response and energy efficiency’.
The Energy Efficiency Council’s CEO, Luke Menzel, said that the report’s recommendations are timely.
"Just before Christmas, the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that Australia has the most energy intensive manufacturing sector of 19 of the world’s advanced economies.”
“With no immediate prospect of big reductions in the unit cost of energy, the only way to bring down energy bills in this country is to get smarter about the way we use energy. The good news is that manufacturers can quickly slash their bills with energy upgrades that bring their operations in line with our global competitors."
“And as the Committee notes, demand response – voluntarily shifting energy use from periods of peak demand to times when supply is plentiful – can actually create new revenue streams for industrial users, and avoid expensive, unnecessary investment in the grid.”
Partnership between industry and government essential
Mr. Menzel said these approaches were common internationally, but they require a partnership between government, industry and energy management experts.
“Overseas, governments work in partnership with their industry sectors to drive efficiency improvements, however in Australia we have no concerted program at a national level.”
“We call on the Government to heed the insights of this bipartisan report, and establish a new ‘Gas and Energy Productivity’ program that links energy users to experts and supports critical energy upgrades, so Aussie manufacturers can weather what is proving to be a rocky transition in our energy system.”
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