Efficiency Insight - April 2020
Efficiency Insight is the Energy Efficiency Council's monthly energy management update for members, partners and stakeholders.
In a crisis it pays to be on the front foot; indecisiveness can often make matters worse. However, being both decisive and right is hard, especially if the crisis you're facing is a novel one. Data will be piecemeal, there will be competing opinions about the best way forward, and even once you have decided a course of action, lining the troops up behind you takes time.
COVID-19 is an extraordinary challenge of leadership. And I don't just mean our state and federal political leaders who, for the most part, have really stepped up in the last few weeks. These same challenges are being faced by leaders across Australia, in businesses, not for profits, community groups, local governments, and state and federal departments and agencies. People that lead organisations, lead teams or lead by example; we're all grappling, collectively, with how to support the people who rely on us, how to do the right thing for our organisation, and how to play our part in managing the broader economic and social impacts of this crisis.
Importantly its a challenge we're all facing simultaneously, which mean there is huge and immediate benefit in rapidly sharing information and strategies as they emerge. In our industry, we're working hard to act as a clearing house, to make sure our members and our broader network have the information needed to make good decisions.
New webinar series: Efficiency Insights
Which is why we're announcing our new webinar series, Efficiency Insights. Twice a month, every month, we will interview a local or global leader about a critical issue facing the energy management sector. One of these webinars will be for members only, and will canvas business critical technical, regulatory and market developments. The other will be open to everyone in our network, and give us the opportunity to kick along the public conversation around the role of energy efficiency and energy management.
We're launching on Tuesday 21 April with a member only webinar with Carlos Flores, Director of the NABERS, to unpack the recent, rapid changes NABERS has implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Energy Efficiency Council members will get an invite to this session shortly.
Then the following week, on Thursday 30 April, we'll host our first public webinar with Anna Skarbek, CEO of ClimateWorks Australia, to discuss their new report Decarbonisation Futures, and the role the demand side can play in the economic recovery on the other side of this crisis. You can sign up for this session here, and further details are below.
Stay safe. Have a great long weekend. It's been a massive start to the year; I hope you can take a break over the next four days to rest and reflect.
Chief Executive Officer
Energy Efficiency Council
To subscribe to receive future editions of Efficiency Insight direct to your inbox, click here.
Rob Murray-Leach, Head of Policy, Energy Efficiency Council
Our response to COVID-19: Protect, pivot and rebound
After deep and rapid consultation with our members over the last month, the Energy Efficiency Council has been working with a broad coalition of industry, consumer and community groups to develop policy responses to COVID-19.
Australian governments’ first priority right now must be protecting the health of the community. However, we also need to protect the financial and mental wellbeing of the community, and minimise the economic damage caused by the pandemic.
The National Cabinet has restricted a range of personal and business activities, and these restrictions could be in place for many months. However, essential activities are continuing, as is working or studying at home.
Classic ‘stimulus’ measures will be far less effective during this period of restricted activities. Accordingly, governments’ economic support packages have focused on both providing a safety net for workers who have become unexpectedly unemployed, and helping organisations stay solvent and retain staff. This approach of protecting workers and businesses will minimise social disruption and put the economy in the best position to resume as restrictions ease.
Beyond this immediate economic protection, governments and businesses should consider how to use the shutdown period in the most productive way possible, so that the economy is in the best position to rebound on the other side of this crisis. Stimulus measures should be targeted to jumpstart economic sectors as restrictions ease. This approach can be framed as ‘Protect, Pivot and Rebound’.
Protect, Pivot and Rebound and energy management
Protect, Pivot and Rebound is a general framework for managing the economy in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. This approach provides for limiting job losses in the short term, bolstering industry skills and capability to support and drive regrowth, and stimulating demand to accelerate recovery.
Protect, Pivot and Rebound works best when economy-wide action is paired with targeted measures in particular sectors. In particular, focussing on improving energy management in homes and businesses would support the rapid rebound of the economy and support us on a longer-term pathway to a stronger economy by:
- Creating 120,000 job-years of employment;
- Cutting households’ and businesses’ energy bills by over $7 billion per annum;
- Improving the health and wellbeing of the community – the low-quality of Australia’s homes is implicated in the estimated 2,600 deaths that occur each year during periods of cooler weather;
- Strengthening the reliability and affordability of electricity grid; and
- Dramatically reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Studies around the world have confirmed that investments in energy management are major creators of local employment in trades, professions and manufacturing. A report from 2019 found that at least 500,000 Australians spend part of their time improving homes’ and businesses’ energy efficiency, including electricians, architects and engineers. The amount of time that they spend on energy efficiency adds up to at least 59,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions. However, an ambitious strategy to upgrade Australia’s existing homes and businesses would create over 120,000 additional job-years of employment.
Below I outline our view on how these three stages should be managed in the energy management sector.
Governments have announced measures that are aligned with the ‘protect’ stage of the pandemic that support a wide range of businesses to remain viable – such as reducing the cost to businesses of retaining staff. There is a strong case for pairing these general measures with targeted interventions in strategic sectors of the economy.
The Energy Efficiency Council is collaborating with governments to rapidly undertake a detailed impact analysis for the energy management sector, and develop a range of policy options to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the sector.
There are several key actions that governments can take to support the economy to ‘pivot’ and prepare for the rebound, including:
- Funding for rapid research to support the rebound, such as finalising the details of energy efficiency and energy management programs including large-scale retrofits of different building types;
- Training to help upskill workers in fields such as construction and electrical trades so that they can help upgrade Australian buildings. For example, training for plumbers (initially online and eventually supported by in person training) could provide plumbers with the skills they need to install heat pump hot water systems; and
- Clear, early guidance on the government programs that will drive the ‘rebound’ phase, as this will encourage businesses to pivot and take advantage of stimulus measures such as tax write offs already in place.
The majority of government funding should be directed to the rebound phase to support energy efficiency and energy management upgrades in:
- Commercial buildings, including government buildings. There are significant advantages to upgrading commercial buildings right now, as many have no or low levels of occupancy, making it far simpler to upgrade them without disrupting tenants;
- Homes to ensure that they are comfortable all year round, and minimise the number of households that experience extreme heat or cold in their homes; and
- Manufacturing, mining and agriculture, helping businesses to retool for the 21st century.
The Energy Efficiency Council will continue to work with its members, partners and government stakeholders to refine and advocate for these proposals. The Energy Efficiency Council will continue to work with its members, partners and government stakeholders to refine and advocate for these proposals. If we Protect, Pivot and Rebound our sector it will help to drive a recovery that delivers a stronger, cleaner and healthier economy.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic governments around the country have rallied behind business and households. From Western Australia's initial $607 million package over three weeks ago, to the Commonwealth Government's $130 billion JobKeeper payment last week, we've been monitoring the economic support packages for business, and sharing member alerts with Energy Efficiency Council members.
To view a round-up of all of the economic support packages for business announced by state and federal governments, and keep up-to-date on the lates announcements, including the recently announced grants of up to $10,000 for struggling small businesses in NSW and protections for landlords and private tenants in South Australia, please click here.
Announcements have been made by every state and territory as well as the Commonwealth, including:
- JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments;
- Assistance for businesses to pay their energy bills; and
- Incentives for business investment, among other supports.
Economic support packages totalling $1 billion or more have been announced in New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. These packages include support for businesses to retain employees and sustain business, including payroll tax breaks, grants, and no-interest loans.
Importantly, the Commonwealth Government has released a JobKeeper FAQ document, last updated Sunday 5 April 2020, that further explains the parameters of the program.
To learn more, click here.
We will continue to monitor the economic support packages for business announced by state and federal governments. And as new packages are announced we will continue to send member alerts and keep this page up to date.
ClimateWorks Australia has released a groundbreaking new report – Decarbonisation Futures – that sets out how Australia can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
All eight state and territory governments, and many leading businesses, have either set targets or aspirations to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050. ClimateWorks has found that Australia can achieve net zero emissions before 2050 through a mixture of largely mature technologies in electricity generation and buildings, and mature and emerging technologies in transport, industry and agriculture.
In electricity generation, the modeling in the report suggests that around 75 per cent of generation could be renewable by 2030, reaching 100 per cent renewable generation well before 2050. The report suggests that demand management and storage will be critical to ensure that a renewable electricity network is affordable and reliable.
In buildings, a combination of largely mature energy efficiency technologies and electrification are the main sources of abatement. ClimateWorks notes that the maturity and affordability of many energy efficient technologies has improved rapidly, such as the cost of LED lighting dropping 80 per cent over the last five years. In homes, energy efficiency improvements could reduce the energy used per household by 44 to 49 per cent by 2030, and by up to 60 per cent by 2050. In commercial buildings, energy efficiency could reduce energy use per m2 by 16 to 28 per cent by 2030 and around 50 per cent by 2050. ClimateWorks also expects that most buildings will be electrified by 2040.
In industry, the report notes a range of mature and emerging technologies, including the use of heat pumps for low temperature processes. The modeling suggests that energy used in manufacturing and other industry could drop by 45 per cent between 2020 and 2050. However, there is a range of non-energy emissions from processes such as cement production that will require more effort to abate.
Agriculture and transport
Mature energy efficiency technologies will also play a key role in decarbonising transport and agriculture. However, like industry, deep decarbonisation of these sectors will require developments in new technologies.
It’s a long and thorough report that is well-worth reading in its entirety. However, if you are short on time we would particularly encourage people to read the modelling sections on:
- Electricity - pages 86-89;
- Buildings - pages 90-93;
- Transport - pages 94-10;
- Industry - pages 102-111; and
- Agriculture - pages 112-116.
Webinar: Decarbonisation Futures with Anna Skarbek - Thursday 30 April, 2.30pm - 3.30pm AEST
If you're eager to learn more about Decarbonisation Futures and the work of ClimateWorks Australia, on Thursday 30 April from 2.30pm - 3.30pm AEST, Energy Efficiency Council CEO Luke Menzel will hold conversation with Anna Skarbek, CEO of ClimateWorks Australia.
They'll discuss the main takeaways from Decarbonisation Futures, demand side opportunities, and activities that can be picked up to drive the economic rebound on other side of the current COVID-19 crisis.
Please register for this complimentary webinar here.
Decarbonisation Futures: solutions, actions and benchmarks for a net zero emissions Australia
Before we entered a world of lockdowns and quarantines, our energy sector was trying to recover after the bushfires and get ready for change. COAG Energy Council walked out of the March meeting with a laundry list of actions. We're navigating a transition from a series of big generators who predictably deliver to customers, to a world where every house, car, office and person is both a source and user of energy. And if you thought that was tough - add in the immediate challenge of recovering from the bushfires and preparing for next summer.
However, the news of COVID-19 saw many energy organisations halt their stakeholder activities. But we can’t just wait for this to all blow over and we don’t need to.
I’m not sure about you, but the constant stream of news has had me oscillating between sheer determination and utter desperation. The news of these programs being paused made it even worse.
In one of those moments of determination, last week I ran an online event as part of the etc, with experts from across the virtual comms spectrum. And I came to the conclusion (as the title hints) this is not only possible, it's necessary.
By embracing the virtual world, we will find new audiences, fresh eyes and probably most importantly - help us all get through this.
News websites, podcasts, video on demand services and more have seen enormous spikes in demand as audiences look for ways to fill their days. People are stuck behind a laptop in a spare bedroom and are building new habits for collaboration. Check out the boom of COVID-19 memes if you have any hesitations.
The energy sector has always struggled to bring new people into our world. But being conscious of this can mean virtual comms are a true leveller. It can deliver more inclusive solutions as can be seen by recent work in translating medical updates and how the CDC is proactively working with homeless communities.
For whatever reason, the energy sector has stuck to traditional channels but now its time to shift to virtual - and not just because we have to. Virtual technology provides a platform for low cost, data driven, democratic engagement. We can tap into people's time because they now have it. Whether you are training, engaging or promoting, people now have time to get involved and we have tools to find them.
Late last year the Energy Security Board hosted academics from around the world at a conference on the future of energy markets. One senior Australian energy regulator made the comment -
"We are trying to design a market for participants that aren't even in the room."
Don't get me wrong, the way the energy sector works with stakeholders is improving. Initiatives like The Energy Charter show that customers are now being heard. However, the rise of new (very successful) businesses shows that there's more to come and the system needs to be willing to embrace it. Now that we're forced to redesign how we work together, we can reframe how we bring voices together to embrace event more voices.
Going virtual eradicates barriers of distance and time. These times breed innovation. Breweries are making sanitiser and Dyson is making ventilators. The challenge was set and opened up to those who wanted to rise to it- virtually.
Humans need to communicate and interact. We also need direction. Luke Menzel wrote last week about the ramifications of the pandemic on our mental health. Our energy community is a small world. Before social distancing, we would bump into people at events and get the chance to catch up. Now we don’t have that, we’re at risk of losing some we’ve spent years creating. Half of the solution is the technology and that's not too hard. LinkedIn, Slack, Teams create space for communities. House Party, Facetime, WhatsApp mean you can communicate more than ever. Miro, Mural and StormBoard shift all those sticky notes onto your screen.
The other half is how we do it. The transactional nature of virtual platforms can remove humanity if you aren’t purposeful. When transitioning to virtual comms, the key is understanding what you are trying to achieve. From information sharing or networking through to consultation, match the need with the technology and the intent with a sense of purpose.
Tomorrow’s challenges can't be navigated with yesterday's communication strategies and now we're forced to do it differently, there may be even more opportunities
Engevity has developed a new model that accounts for the who, what, why and when’s of virtual comms. We want to help energy get into the virtual world as soon as possible.
So if you’re sitting behind your laptop in your spare room, trying to figure this out - reach out and let’s grab a virtual coffee.
It would be great to connect. Virtually.
Liz Fletcher is Associate Director at Engevity; Co-founder of the etc.; and Board member - Marketing and Communications Expert at the Energy Efficiency Council. This article originally appeared as a post on Liz Fletcher's LinkedIn account.
The Energy Efficiency Council is nothing if not nimble, and we have swiftly transitioned our face-to-face training courses online. Last week, our first cohort of 15 eager learners successfully undertook online professional development in Capturing the Value of Demand Response over two half-days.
An advantage of online delivery is that we're able to loop in international experts. In Capturing the Value of Demand Response last week, the cohort was joined by subject matter experts from California, who spoke to their experience in demand response in the California market, and how the lessons learned in California could present opportunities in Australia. In addition, the Council's Head of Policy, Rob Murray-Leach, joined the class to provide a timely update on the impact of the upcoming Wholesale Demand Response Mechanism.
Additionally, online classrooms remove the geographical limitations of face-to-face delivery, offering people from Brisbane to Broome and Hobart the opportunity to join the class.
We're holding additional online training sessions for Capturing the Value of Demand Response and Energy auditing to the Australian Standard before the end of the financial year, as well as holding Australia's first Certified Measurement and Verification Professional (CMVP) accreditation online training in May.
Capturing the Value of Demand Response
Dates: Tuesday 12 - Wednesday 13 May 2020
Times: 9am - 12.30pm AEST (both days)
Standard fee: $490 +GST
EEC member fee: $360 +GST
Trainer: Bruce Rowse
Participants: 15 class members (max)
CPD: 1.4 credits towards CMVP accreditation
Certified Measurement & Verification Professional (CMVP)
Dates: Monday 18 - Thursday 21 May 2020
Times: 10am - 12.30pm AEST and 1.30pm - 4pm AEST (each day) + a 4-hour exam, which will be individually scheduled and proctored
Full registration (training and exam) standard fee: $3,950 inc. GST
Full registration (training and exam) EEC/EVO member fee: $3,160 inc. GST
Trainer: Bruce Rowse
Participants: 15 class members (max)
Energy Auditing to the Australian Standard 3598
Dates: Tuesday 16 - Wednesday 17 June 2020
Times: 9am - 12.30pm AEST (both days)
Standard fee: $890 +GST
EEC member fee: $660 +GST
Trainer: Bruce Rowse
Participants: 15 class members (max)
CPD: 1.4 credits towards CMVP accreditation
See our training page for more information and dates for online training sessions.
The energy management sector is made up of many passionate professionals – and it’s about time we heard from them! In a new monthly feature, the Energy Efficiency Council will profile a current or emerging industry leader.
We kick off this month with Paul Lang from Schneider Electric. Paul was elected to the Energy Efficiency Council Board in November 2019.
What is your current role?
Business Development Manager for Efficiency and Demand Solutions at Schneider Electric.
What did you do prior to your current role?
I’ve worked in a variety of energy efficiency roles over the past 20 years, including in the Energy Services divisions of Origin Energy and AGL delivering energy efficiency solutions for customers. I also spent 8 ½ years on the energy user side at Coles Supermarket delivering their energy efficiency program.
What is Schneider Electric’s role in the energy management market and Australia’s energy transition?
My division, Energy and Sustainability Services (ESS), works with some of Australia’s largest energy users to help them procure energy smarter, manage their energy usage through smart data platforms and implement energy efficiency measures. Our customers are part of Australia’s energy transition and we help them with energy data, energy efficiency, renewable energy options including on-site generation and Power Purchase Agreements.
Schneider Electric offers a large range of services and products including Residential and Small Business, Building and Industrial Automation and Control, Low and Medium Voltage Products and Grid Automation. Some of the products we offer include Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers, Building Management Systems (BMS), circuit breakers, switch gear, transformers and a micro-grid offering.
What do you enjoy about working for Schneider?
Schneider Electric is the first multinational, global company I have worked for, so I love that we are helping so many people and companies all over the globe with their energy needs as the whole world moves with an energy transition. We get a global view on the energy market and get to learn from talented individuals all over the world. We have great leadership from our CEO down to individual managers, and the culture of the team is great; I’m actually missing not being with the team in the office at the moment.
How do you stay connected with your team when you aren’t in the office?
We have moved to using Microsoft Teams recently and I find this a very good platform; sound and vision are stable and it’s great to turn on your camera and see your team. We use the chat function as well and share what we are doing for the day and try to add a few personal touches as well to keep us all amused.
We are continuing to hold our monthly ESS Town Hall’s, we have just moved these to Microsoft Teams as well. As a personal way of staying in touch with those that aren’t in my direct team, I just pick up the phone and call a few people a week to check in and say hello. I think it’s important to maintain the connections.
How do you champion energy efficiency in your own home?
I’ve always been interested in energy efficiency in homes and I have done all the obvious things like changing all the light bulbs to CFL’s or LED’s, draught-proofing a number of window and doors and fitted heavy external canvas blinds to the west facing windows; these make a huge difference in summer.
From a behavioural perspective as a family I’m pretty lucky, as my wife and kids have always known me working in energy efficiency, so they get it. We make conscious decisions to dress correctly in both summer and winter to minimise the use of heating and cooling, although the Melbourne winters can get cold. We wash our clothes in cold water and dry the clothes on the clothesline in summer, autumn and spring and in front of the heater in winter. I must admit I do turn a few lights off from time to time that shouldn’t be on!
What are you currently excited about in the energy world?
I’m excited that a lot of companies and government organisations are setting carbon neutral goals or Science Based Targets (SBTs) that will lead them to invest in energy efficiency and productivity to reduce their energy wastage first before then looking into renewable energy and PPAs. I’m also excited about the push to provide infrastructure in the Electric Vehicle sector worldwide to help that market get more EVs on the roads.
Where do you see Australia’s energy and energy management markets in 2030?
To use the Energy Efficiency Council’s own words, a lot of us in the energy efficiency sector really see the next decade as the critical decade for energy efficiency in the energy transition, making energy work. So I’ll be extremely optimistic, not just for our own industry, but for the futures of our children and grandchildren and our planet, and say that by 2030 we will have really moved in the energy transition in that decade and made energy efficiency a part of what all industries and companies do and just implement energy efficiency in all that they do.
Companies will have stopped looking at short term simple paybacks and will have invested in saving the wasted energy. And those with 2025, 2030, 2040 and 2050 targets are progressing towards those targets. Renewable energy, demand response and micro-grids will also be very important to the energy market in 2030 and companies will have invested heavily in that space as well. Technology and data and extracting value from that data will be very important.
Why do you value being a member of the Energy Efficiency Council?
Schneider Electric was one of the founding members of the Council over 10 years ago, and it is an extremely important membership for us; we have always contributed as part of the Board during that time as well.
The Energy Efficiency Council has worked hard to earn a great reputation in the energy industry over the past 10 years and become a respected voice and participant in the energy transition. Energy efficiency is an important plank of the energy transition, so the work the Council does to promote the sector is very important.