Efficiency Insight – December 2016

The Energy Efficiency Council's quarterly e-newsletter.

CEO welcome

Welcome to this year's final edition of Efficiency Insight, the Energy Efficiency Council's quarterly e-zine.

There are two big themes running through this edition.

National Conference sets agenda, smashes records

The first centres on the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2016, held in Sydney last month. This year's Conference was our most successful to date. With a program featuring 10 leading energy efficiency experts from around the world, over 400 delegates in attendance over the two days, and 270 attendees at the National Energy Efficiency Awards Gala Dinner, we broke every record set in the eight year history of the Conference.

The agenda-setting conversation at this year's Conference was critical for the future of our sector. However, we know that not everyone could make it, so in this edition of Efficiency Insight we have taken the opportunity to bring you the thoughts of a number of high profile speakers, including Brian Motherway, Head of Energy Efficiency at the International Energy Agency. For more conference highlights, you can visit the Council's new YouTube channel, where we have uploaded video from some key plenary sessions. Please subscribe to the channel – we’ll be adding more presentations from the 2016 Conference and other events over time.

Looking back at the year in energy efficiency

The other big theme in this edition is reflection on the year that has just past. Below you will find two detailed updates from the EEC's Head of Policy, Rob Murray-Leach: a broad review of the year in energy policy, as well as a deep dive on the most significant energy efficiency development of 2016, the release of the NSW Government's Draft Plan to Save NSW Energy and Money.

We're not the only ones looking back at the year that was. On Wednesday the COAG Energy Council released its National Energy Productivity Plan Annual Report 2016, a review of our progress towards our national target – improving energy productivity by 40% by 2030.

We are only one year into a fifteen year National Energy Productivity Plan (NEPP). Governments around the country have been engaged in important work over the last twelve months, laying the groundwork for future increases in energy productivity. Thats good, because there is much to do: our annual energy productivity improvement in 2014-15 was lower than the average improvement over the previous 15 years, and substantially lower than the improvement necessary to hit our 2030 target.

This result suggests it will take a very big effort to get anywhere near a 40% improvement. And in light of the significant role energy efficiency is slated to play in reducing energy costs and meeting our Paris climate commitments, there is a strong argument that we need to ramp up our ambition well beyond a 40% improvement to drive sensible, cost effective energy efficiency across the economy.

A big year ahead

With energy issues on the front pages, a number of states launching new energy efficiency policies and the Australian Government's Climate Change Review now underway, 2017 is shaping up as a massive year for Australia's energy efficiency sector. I trust this final edition of Efficiency Insight for 2016 will help prepare you for it.


Luke Menzel, CEO, Energy Efficiency Council

Follow Luke on Twitter, or connect on LinkedIn.

Efficiency Insight - December 2016


2016 in review: Energy efficiency powers on despite policy turmoil

What’s the real power behind energy efficiency?

Ignore energy efficiency at your peril

Energy efficiency leaders applauded at National Awards

Reinvention and recalibration through energy efficiency

NSW's new plan for energy efficiency is a game changer

Battery storage resources launched for businesses

City of Sydney grant funding available to help manage and benchmark building energy use

Level up in 2017: Energy audit standard and measurement and verification training

2016 in review: Energy efficiency powers on despite policy turmoil

The EEC's Head of Policy, Rob Murray-Leach, reflects on an eventful year in energy policy.

The pressure on the media to deliver up-to-the-minute coverage creates sound and fury, but it signifies nothing. To get a real picture of progress it’s important to step back and reflect on the broader arc of events. Which is a flowery way for me to introduce an overview of Australian energy policy in 2016, and the implications for energy efficiency.

The latest policy drama is a useful framework to consider some of these issues. The Australian Government released the terms of reference for its Climate Change Review on 6 December. The terms were suitably broad and left business leaders hoping the Turnbull Government might be able to craft a compromise policy on climate with enough political stability to improve the investment environment for the energy industry.

In particular, Minister Frydenberg stated than an ‘Emissions Intensity Scheme’ (EIS) would be considered as part of the review. A number of independent experts and political operatives have started to coalesce around an EIS for the energy sector. An EIS would set an emissions intensity baseline for electricity generators. Generators that generate electricity with an emissions intensity above this baseline would buy credits created by generators that are below the baseline. 

The general consensus is that an EIS would have a lower impact on electricity prices than a carbon price – in fact, it could actually reduce energy bills compared to the current suite of policies. A recent paper by Danny Price from Frontier Economics estimated that an EIS would reduce energy costs by up to $15 billion compared to business as usual. Another report by Jacobs for the Energy Networks Association and CSIRO estimated than an EIS would reduce household energy bills by $216 a year.

This should have been a pretty easy sell for a Coalition Government, which could have argued that the Coalition will give industry certainty and lower power bills through a sensible, modest scheme that’s been recommended by industry. 

However, the energy industry’s hopes were dashed when the Prime Minister and Minister Frydenberg then explicitly ruled out an EIS. This change of direction is likely due to pressure from some Coalition parliamentarians, who have been emboldened by Trump’s election as US President. If the Australian Government can’t find a way to conduct a broad climate change review it will hobble the process from the start, with a number of consequences.

Policy uncertainty and the electricity revolution

The first consequence of ruling out an EIS is that the energy industry is much less likely to get the policy certainty that it desperately needs anytime soon. It has become increasingly clear to every sensible expert that dramatic change in the energy sector is inevitable, with or without action by governments. However, governments have a critical role in ensuring that the transition is as orderly, equitable and low-cost as possible.

To makes sensible investments, companies need to understand the likely returns from assets, and this means that governments need to give them long-term certainty around both climate and energy policy. Investors will only believe a policy is stable if it has long-term credibility. Unfortunately continuing business-as-usual in the energy sector in Australia is no longer credible. 

This has real consequences for both energy costs and the stability of the grid. Without policy stability, households and businesses will either avoid investment altogether, or focus on investments that make sense in the short-term but may be less cost-effective in the long-term. This is bad news for grid stability, given the need for significant, sensible investment to adapt to the closure of coal-fired generators and increased penetration of intermittent generation.

Following the South Australian blackout in September, the COAG Energy Council appointed Australia’s Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, to produce a report on reliability and stability in the National Electricity Market. Dr Finkel released his  Preliminary Report last week. While this is an issues paper, rather than a set of recommendations, it makes some very clear observations, including:

There is evidence that investment in the electricity sector has stalled… due to policy instability and uncertainty driven by numerous reviews into the renewable energy target and a lack of clarity about the policies to reduce emissions after 2020.”

In summary, we desperately need credible long-term policy for emissions reduction if we’re going to keep energy reliable and affordable, and there is a real risk that the Australian Government is closing off options that could provide that policy stability.

Strengthening policy framework for energy efficiency 

The second consequence of the Australian Government ruling out an EIS is that they will have to place much more focus on energy efficiency to achieve further reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The members of the Coalition that are concerned about an EIS are equally agitated about renewable energy and the closure of coal-fired generation, leaving relatively few areas for stronger action on climate change. Energy efficiency is one of the few policy options still on the table.

It’s clear that the Government is aware of this, as the Terms of Reference for the 2017 Climate Change Review explicitly mention the National Energy Productivity Plan. However, it’s not clear how ambitious the Australian Government will choose to be, particularly given internal debates within the Coalition.

State and Territory leadership

The third consequence of the Government ruling out an EIS is that it puts the onus on states and territories to do the heavy lifting on emission reduction. This is really just locking in a key trend from 2016 – in the absence of clear Federal policy, states have been leading. Action in this area includes the Queensland Government’s renewable energy target, NSW’s recent and substantial Draft Plan to Save NSW Energy and Money and Victoria’s soon-to-be-released Energy Efficiency and Productivity Strategy.

These announcements are coming thick and fast. On 13 December the South Australian Government announced $31 million over two years to support energy audits for businesses that use more than 160MWh of electricity per annum. The ‘Energy Productivity Program’ will include:

  • $7.5 million to cover 75 per cent of the cost of energy audits for up to 500 businesses. Audits will be completed by June 2017.
  • $8.5 million to implement audit recommendations in at least 110 businesses with $75,000 grants on a one-to-one funding basis
  • $15 million to implement at least six major energy saving opportunities, with grants of up to $2.5 million on a $1 of Government funding for $2 of business contribution basis.

While a national approach to energy and carbon policy would mean less variations across the country and lower compliance costs, there are some advantages to states and territory leadership. Policies can be introduced quickly and tailored to local conditions, and if a policy is jointly set by a group of governments it can be more stable than if its set by a single government. For example, appliance standards were immune from the Abbott Government's windback of climate policies in 2014, largely because they’re set jointly by all Australian governments.

For some of us this feels like we’ve travelled back in time to 2006, when the states and territories ran a National Emissions Trading Taskforce to develop national greenhouse reduction policies. While the South Australian Government is currently pushing for states and territories to collaborate on the introduction of an EIS, it could be challenging to get this up with a diverse mix of Coalition and Labor-led states and territories.

Instead, states and territories are likely to lead through loosely coordinated action on areas like renewables and energy efficiency. This brings us back to the National Energy Productivity Plan, otherwise known as the NEPP. The NEPP is more of a framework for action than a clear set of policies. NSW and Victoria can lead the country by introducing ambitious policies that are subsequently picked up by other states, or turned into national policies through the NEPP.

This would build on the consolidation of energy efficiency policies and that we’ve seen in 2016, including:

  • The expansion of the national Commercial Building Disclosure program
  • Continuing development and harmonisation of energy efficiency certificate schemes in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT. Another last-minute announcement is that Victoria is consulting to enable the reintroduction of insulation to the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target.
  • Expansion of programs to improve the energy efficiency of government buildings, with NSW rolling out projects, South Australia setting up its systems and Victoria reintroducing the Greener Government Buildings program.
  • State and territory governments trying to get around the intransigence of the Australian Energy Market Commission on demand-response. This includes working directly with networks and considering reverse auctions for demand management.
  • The introduction of State Government support for sensible energy management practices in large energy users in South Australia.

Changing attitudes in business

However, the largest lesson from the media-storm around the Climate Change Review is probably the response of the energy industry and broader businesses. The business community has travelled a long journey to realize that it needs clear credible policy and carbon and clean energy to enable investment. Just this week the Energy Networks Association called for the introduction of a price on carbon to facilitate transition. Separately,  Matthew Warren, Chief Executive of the Australian Energy Council, released an unequivocal statement on this:

Old generators are exiting the market, but political uncertainty means we are unable to build the kinds of assets that can effectively replace them. As a result, the grid is now visibly deteriorating. Reliability is being compromised. The grid will continue to deteriorate until the uncertainty is resolved, which requires effective, efficient, durable, national climate and energy policy.” 

Business has started to realise that energy costs are going to rise substantially, and that they need to adapt. One of the reasons that coal-fired generators are starting to close is that many of them are well beyond their design life. Any form of generation that replaces them, including new coal-fired generators, will be substantially more expensive than the current fleet. This means higher prices.

The cost of energy contracts in South Australia have already risen substantially, and many business organisations are looking to how they can help their members adjust. This means a stronger focus on energy efficiency and, for more enlightened businesses, starting to prepare for a zero-carbon economy.

One of Australia’s largest Real Estate Investment Trusts, Investa, has committed to achieve net zero emissions by 2040, and is putting its money where its mouth is. The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has invested $110 million in equity to help Investa finance a $900 million 33-storey office at 60 Martin Place in Sydney that will achieve at least 5.5 star NABERS.

Large scale investment in energy efficiency, supported by strong energy efficiency policies, could have a dramatic impact on the energy sector. Not only would these investments bring down power bills, they could actually reduce energy costs by competing with generators and reducing their pricing power. A new report by CitiGroup looks into the dramatic impact that this could have on the energy sector in Europe.

Despite the turmoil in the energy sector more broadly, 2016 was a positive year for energy efficiency. While there are many uncertainties for 2017, it could prove to be a defining year for the sector.


What’s the real power behind energy efficiency?

Couldn’t join us for the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2016? The EEC's President, Tony Arnel, reflects on the big messages coming out of the Conference.

The way we frame energy efficiency is changing, according to Dr Brian Motherway, Head of the Energy Efficiency Division at the International Energy Agency.

Where once it was about saving the planet, it has now shifted to how we can save money, Motherway said during his keynote at the 2016 National Energy Efficiency Conference in November.

But energy efficiency lies at the heart of many political and social objectives – productivity, profitability, health, climate change mitigation and competitiveness among them.

As Motherway said: “It doesn’t matter what the focus, as long as there is a focus”.

Dr Brian Motherway presenting at the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2016

The eighth annual National Energy Efficiency Conference covered a range of topics – from how precinct-scale solutions are gathering steam to how institutional investors and sovereign wealth funds are driving change through their decarbonisation strategies. The mood in the room was up-beat. As Motherway said: “the market for energy services appears poised for growth.”

He also urged us not to lose sight of our role in meeting our obligations under the Paris Agreement. “There is no credible path to tackling climate change without energy efficiency,” he explained.

Amanda McKenzie presenting at the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2016

Also, speaking at the conference, Amanda McKenzie, CEO of the Climate Council, said energy efficiency can get Australia about half way to meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement. “We need policy drivers to increase energy productivity but government is still lacking clear pathways”, McKenzie said.

Bronwyn Evans presenting at the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2016

In a later session, Bronwyn Evans, CEO of Standards Australia, added that “we need policy-makers and policy-takers to be innovative. If policies not actually used, there’s no benefit derived.”

Federal Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy Mark Butler presenting at the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2016

Federal Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy Mark Butler lamented the politicisation of energy and climate policy. “There is no question we have reached a tipping point,” he said, adding that Australia risks being left behind as China adds 50 gigawatts of renewable energy to the mix each year, the United States continues to closes coal fired power stations, and solar power overtakes coal as the most use energy source in the UK.

But some governments are starting to take a more holistic approach to energy efficiency. The NSW and Victorian governments understand that it is no longer enough to set a target and write a short guideline. Instead, we need a cooperative and collaborative approach with government and industry working together.

Left to right; Luke Menzel (EEC CEO), Dr Brian Motherway, The Hon Mark Speakman MP, Tony Arnel (EEC President)

NSW Minister for the Environment Mark Speakman, for example, is driving an ambitious agenda. He wants build a state that is “a green services hub for the Asia-pacific region”.

“We want to sell energy efficiency in government, and we want to sell to the average punter,” Speakman told the 400-strong crowd.

According to Minister Speakman, the common conception is that energy efficient is not a particularly sexy term and doesn’t attract the headlines in the Daily Telegraph or interviews on The Project. But he argued it is actually the sexiest thing possible; and that the challenge is to integrate energy efficiency into mainstream thinking. The Minister acknolwdged this is undoubtedly a big task for his government, and for every other government around Australia.

But the power that sits behind the energy efficiency movement is transformative. And how well we fare will be judged on the outcomes we deliver, not on write ups in popular media.

I am optimistic about the future. Whether it’s about the planet saving potential or the productivity, the macro-economic gains or the health benefits, the energy efficiency movement has a compelling narrative. And we are its story-tellers.

The Energy Efficiency Council has shown real leadership in the development of the policy needed to support this growth. The well-received policy handbook launched earlier this year is just one example. The Council has a central role to play in bringing industry together, and to help governments seize the benefits of energy efficiency.

Delegates networking at the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2016

As an industry, our focus is shifting from the incremental to the transformational. The incremental approach of the past has helped us build a business case. Now, it’s time to push the innovation envelope – to move beyond delivering just one landmark energy efficiency project and instead embrace deep retrofits across large portfolios. To change the way industry thinks about energy services. To challenge our colleagues and competitors. And to work together to build a better future for us all.

Article featured in Architecture & Design on 21 November 2016 – click here to view original article.

Ignore energy efficiency at your peril

Head of Energy Efficiency at the International Energy Agency, Dr Brian Motherway, highlights how energy systems security, affordability and sustainability starts with energy efficiency.

I work in energy efficiency. No wait, don’t go. It’s exciting. In Australia you sometimes call it energy productivity, but it means the same thing: getting the most value (economic and social) out of the energy we use. 

Productivity has more positive connotations than efficiency, but possibly only in the business community. It’s not so long ago that everyone used the term energy conservation. This clearly has a more negative feel – don’t use energy, conserve it. It goes with all those campaigns by government telling us to turn off the lights, turn down the heat, walk to school and eat healthy food.

For most people, neither term will exactly set them on fire; indeed nothing about energy policy ever will. I did read somewhere that the average person spends about 40 seconds per year thinking about energy issues, though I have no idea how they measure that. 

But the change in terminology does illustrate an attempt to explain something that is very hard to explain – the energy you don’t use. And equally, to make it positive and interesting. ‘Selling´ energy efficiency has always been hard, and has always felt a bit preachy – a small group of zealous converts struggling to understand why no one else is excited about low energy lightbulbs and the latest developments in attic insulation.

And yet it matters to us all in our daily lives. Energy brings so many good things to all our lives – heat, comfort, the ability to travel. It charges our devices, cooks our food. And, of course, it powers our factories and offices and drives our economies. We don’t care about using energy, we care about the benefits using energy brings. In that sense, the more the better. 

But using energy comes at a cost. Literally – the average Australian household spends well over $2,000 a year on gas and electricity – and more widely, the global economic, social and environmental costs of our growing energy use cannot be ignored. Local air pollution in homes and in cities causes six million premature deaths around the world each year. Globally, climate change, linked to our energy use, is fast becoming the existential issue of our time.

Making our energy systems secure, affordable and sustainable starts with energy efficiency. Even before we talk about new, clean sources of energy, let’s talk about eliminating waste. Our analysis shows that we are capturing less than a quarter of our total energy efficiency potential. We are all needlessly wasting our own money and the planet’s resources and capacities.

Being more energy efficient brings many benefits. More efficient homes are more comfortable and measurably healthier. Good quality, efficient, lighting enhances learning in schools and staff satisfaction in offices. Industry becomes more competitive, jobs and GDP get a boost.

Is it still boring? Two things are changing that might excite people at least a little. First of all, energy efficiency is going hi-tech. It’s not about turning stuff off anymore. Your car can tell your home you’ll be there in fifteen minutes, and please turn on the heat. You can set the temperature differently in every room in the house, and change it on your phone. Street lights can tell the city which parking spaces are free, and even check if the parkers have paid. Industrial systems are using big data and artificial intelligence to optimise themselves and anticipate problems before they happen. This changes the game as to how much more efficient we can become. It also changes how energy efficiency looks, and how it can be sold.

Secondly, there is global momentum behind energy efficiency. The world is becoming increasingly efficient every year. The biggest driver of that? China. Last year, China saved more energy than Japan used. The energy efficiency services market in China, which was zero fifteen years ago, now employs over half a million people and is worth US$13 billion per year – more than the rest of the world put together. The demand in China for services and technologies that can continue its drive for energy efficiency is a huge opportunity. 

Energy efficiency – an essential part of all future energy systems, and key to delivering a sustainable, low carbon future – is now also a global, technology-oriented, fast-growing business sector. Ignore it at your peril.

Article featured in Real Estate Conversation on 2 December 2016 – click here to view original article

Energy efficiency leaders applauded at National Awards

The National Energy Efficiency Awards celebrate excellence and innovation in energy efficiency. Meet our 2016 Award winners!

Corporate leadership, individual excellence and energy efficiency innovation have been recognised and awarded at the National Energy Efficiency Industry Awards 2016.

Hosted by the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC), the awards were announced at the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2016 Gala Dinner in Sydney, on Tuesday 15 November 2016.

The following winners represent the very best in industrial, commercial and government efficiency, demand response and cogeneration.

Best Industrial Energy Efficiency Project 2016

Winner: Parmalat & Minus40

Parmalat and Minus40 implemented variable heat pressure, capacity and compressor staging control into its refrigeration plant. This reduced energy costs and improved plant stability without major equipment change, delivering a 22% reduction in energy use, avoiding 727 tonnes of carbon emissions and saving $98,000 per annum.

Best Energy Efficiency Innovation 2016

Winner: Chamaeleon III, enlighten Australia

The Chamaeleon III LED luminaire has been designed for long lit and low occupancy areas such as fire stairs, undercover car parks and service corridors. The combination of LEDs and controls mean that some installations have delivered more than 90% energy savings on business as usual, and the current model allows the light output and motion sensor settings to be adjusted via smartphone.

Best Energy Savings Program 2016

Winner: Energy Efficient Office Buildings, Sustainability Victoria

Sustainability Victoria worked with 24 mid-tier commercial office buildings, mostly constructed between 1960 and 1990, and provided support for energy efficiency audits and building tuning to improve building performance, comfort and occupant productivity. Currently in its final monitoring stage, the program is showing outstanding results, including average energy saving of 30% and emission reductions of over 4,500 tonnes CO2-e.

Best Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Project 2016

Winner: 171 Collins Street, CBUS Property, Charter Hall & Knight Frank

Cbus Property and Charter Hall’s Melbourne landmark has become the city’s first to achieve a six star NABERS Energy rating without the use of Green Power – instead, the rating has been achieved entirely on the base building and operational energy use. A radiant cooling and heating system and an under-floor air distribution network provides energy efficient thermal comfort for occupants, while the air conditioning system allows large quantities of outside air to be brought into the office space at a low velocity and distributed using natural stratification.

Highly Commended: Bay Centre, Mirvac

The Bay Centre team has reduced the energy intensity of a 14-year old building by an outstanding 55% to deliver a market leading NABERS Energy rating of 6 stars without Green Power. The reduction in energy consumption translates to a cost saving of $200,000 per annum.

Leading Energy User 2016

Winner: Woolworths

Woolworths ‘Project Enlighten’ involved a $137 million upgrade to lighting, HVAC and refrigeration systems across the Woolworths portfolio of supermarkets, petrol stations, liquor stores and department stores. The project is delivering $132 million in savings per year and a return on investment of 96%, demonstrating that large corporates can take bold, comprehensive and impressive action.

Highly commended: Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Since 2009, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has dramatically reduced its energy intensity per full-time staff member by 43%. This included a major roll out of LED lights, an updated lighting and security interface, minimum standards for IT and appliances.

Young Energy Efficiency Professional 2016

Winner: Leon Wurfel, BUENO

Leon Wurfel co-founded Australia’s first property operations big data company BUENO Systems and serves as Managing Director. Since inception in 2013, BUENO has grown to a staff of 25 and its products and services now cover more than 4.5 million sqm of buildings.

Highly Commended: Grace Foo, Energy Action

In a few short years, Grace has made a significant impact on a range of buildings. Grace has conducted energy audits at universities and schools in Australia and Fiji, hotels including Shangri-la in Sydney, shopping centres such as Erina Fair in Terrigal and Roxburgh Shopping Centre in Melbourne. She has also implemented energy efficiency projects at 10 Moore Street and 44 Sydney Avenue in Canberra.

(Dr Brian Motherway accepts Award on behalf of Louise Vickery)

Energy Efficiency Champion 2016

Winner: Louise Vickery, ARENA

Louise Vickery is one of Australia’s leading program managers in energy efficiency. The founding director of Greenhouse Challenge, Cities for Climate Protection, and manager of the Energy Efficiency Best Practise Program, Louise has represented Australia on the IEA’s Energy Efficiency Working Party and the International Partnership on Energy Efficiency Cooperation, contributing the World Energy Outlook focus on energy efficiency.

The Gala Dinner was generously sponsored by Energy and Carbon Solutions. The Leading Energy User Award category was proudly sponsored by Energy Users Association of Australia.

Congratulations to all winners the quantity and quality of nominations this year was impressive!

Aussie manufacturers reinvent and recalibrate through energy efficiency

Jennifer Conley & Geoff Andrews discuss how a smart approach to energy management can help Australian manufacturers reposition themselves for success.

It’s easy to see why energy efficiency hasn’t been a top-line priority for many of Australia’s manufacturers.

When energy accounts for just a small proportion of a manufacturer’s costs, energy savings aren’t always a compelling reason for investment in efficiency.

But as global megatrends – from digital transformation to climate change – reshape the way business operates, a smart approach to energy management can help Australian manufacturers reposition themselves for success.

“These megatrends are aligning with technology development in Australia to provide new opportunities for business growth,” says Jennifer Conley, Executive Director of the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council.

“While the resource boom is retreating and the automotive industry is in decline, advanced manufacturing is expanding in Australia – and this high-value manufacturing aligns neatly with energy efficiency goals,” Conley adds.

The global market for smart energy products and services is currently worth more than $290 billion annually – and it’s growing rapidly. Just one per cent of this market would inject billions of dollars into Australia’s economy and create thousands of jobs.

Advanced manufacturing is not a sector but “a series of characteristics”, Conley says, that include global orientation and high-value differentiated products or processes.

“It’s high R&D and knowledge-rich, and tends to have highly-paid, well-educated employees, particularly scientists and engineers,” she explains.

And the intersection of high-technology and energy efficiency is an emerging sweet spot, Conley says, and she has plenty of examples to illustrate the point.

Carbon Revolution in Geelong is manufacturing one-piece carbon fibre wheels – the most technically-advanced wheels on the planet. Because carbon fibre weighs 40 per cent less than the aluminium equivalent, it reduces fuel consumption and cuts the carbon emissions generated by cars such as the latest Ford GT.

Adelaide-based Seeley, an air-conditioning manufacturer, has developed an energy-saving evaporative cooling product that is 80 per cent more efficient than its competitors, Conley explains.

And from its Ballarat headquarters, Gekko Systems has developed a low-emissions gold processing solution that is being sold throughout the world.

“These companies have recognised that energy efficiency can present both business and environmental benefits,” Conley explains.

While Conley looks at energy efficiency as an opportunity for Australian companies to break into new markets, manufacturers can also embrace energy efficiency to become ‘match fit’ for the competitive 21st century economy. Energy efficiency opportunities don’t require business reinvention. In many cases, small adjustments to existing systems can deliver big benefits.

As engineering manager at energy consultancy Genesis Now, Geoff Andrews has analysed and implemented thousands of energy efficiency projects over 25 years.

He says manufacturers tend to see energy efficiency measures “as important but not urgent”, while “unacceptable noise levels, safety concerns or equipment that is running out of capacity or can’t be maintained can make energy efficiency an urgent issue”.

Andrews says his team looks at projects that can tackle the urgent concerns, while also delivering the co-benefits of energy efficiency. Andrews says his work at a tomato sauce factory is a good example.

“We were called in because the factory was running out of steam,” he says. The factory team and head office had agreed that an additional boiler was needed, but they couldn’t agree on the capacity required.

“Either way, it was going to be more than a $1 million dollar spend. We found the capacity problem arose from cooking the tomatoes in seven minutes when they could be cooked in 15 minutes – the cycle time for the remaining processes. By adjusting the controls, we were able to reduce average steam demand to well below the capacity of the existing boilers, so they didn’t need an extra one.” Boiler efficiency also improved.

Impressed, the company asked Andrews to sniff around for other energy efficiency improvements, and by introducing further efficiency improvement, such as replacing a steam jet vacuum with an electric vacuum pump, the factory “went from needing an extra boiler to having one spare. That’s what energy efficiency can deliver,” he says.

Andrews advises companies to start looking for opportunities by examining the data they already have at their fingertips, rather than start by generating more data.

“Review your production data and look for correlations. Are you using electricity in the middle of the night when the factory is closed? Does your energy consumption go up in line with the production of more widgets? Look for patterns,” he advises.

The multiple benefits that a manufacturer can get from an energy efficiency process are immense, Andrews says, which is why a good consultant will look for ‘multi-factorial productivity’ opportunities. When resource, process and energy efficiency can all be enhanced they often provide a more compelling reason for a manufacturer to act than reducing energy use would on its own.

“It may be an improvement to product yield, the image that they are presenting to their own staff, the quality of the working environment, the continuity of supply, or their ability to reduce safety or noise risks.”

Conley says the world’s transition to a low-carbon economy presents many opportunities for Australia and she’s optimistic about the future.

“As a high-cost, advanced economy, we can’t compete with the old smoke stack, rust bucket industries. But as our companies progressively move into advanced manufacturing, we’re building industries that can compete globally, create high-value returns and do their bit to reduce global carbon emissions.”

Article featured in Manufacturing Monthly on 9 November 2016 – click here to view original article.

NSW's new plan for energy efficiency is a game changer

The EEC's Head of Policy, Rob Murray-Leach, breaks down the NSW Government's ambitious new plan to drive energy efficiency across the NSW economy.

It’s rare to see governments release an energy efficiency strategy that is ambitious, sophisticated and well-resourced, let alone all three. However, the NSW Government has just broken the mould with the Draft Plan to Save NSW Energy and Money. If implemented, the Draft NSW Plan will:

  • Be supported by $200 million in funding over 5 years for major programs
  • Drive an estimated $1.9 billion of private investment to 2025, generating an estimated 870 jobs
  • Deliver an estimated $1.8 billion in net economic benefits. This includes around $16 billion in bill savings by 2050, including $7.8 billion in savings for homes and $9.1 billion in savings for businesses.

The Draft Plan is one part of a broader suite of climate and energy plans released by the Government on 3 November. The Climate Change Policy Framework is supported by the Climate Change Fund Draft Strategic Plan 2017-20 and theDraft Plan to Save NSW Energy and Money. The Climate Change Policy Framework is now formal policy, but the NSW Government is consulting on the two draft plans, with submissions due by today. All these documents contain energy management measures, and for simplicity I’ll refer to the package as the ‘Draft NSW Plan’.

I’ll start by saying that I’m not used to giving really fulsome praise. While I believe it’s important to give credit where it’s due, even if a government is only taking baby steps forward, it’s also critical to honestly highlight shortfalls to encourage better policy. However, the Draft NSW Plan is remarkably good – the only real problem is that it’s currently a draft and there’s a long road to many of these measures being introduced.

The Draft NSW Plan is unusual in both its breadth and how well thought-out it is. The NSW Government has focused on measures that deliver major outcomes (e.g. appliance standards and programs for large energy users) and significant social and economic benefits (e.g. upgrading social housing). Most importantly, the Government is generally suggesting the most effective tool for each problem.

For example, local governments are well motivated to save energy but often lack key energy management skills, and so the NSW Government is proposing to offer facilitation to local governments. Conversely, there is strong evidence that residential landlords don’t respond to information and incentives, so the NSW Government is considering minimum standards for rental homes.

It’s a mature and nuanced document, and from our conversations with the NSW Government it’s clear that there’s a large amount of data and thought behind the Draft NSW Plan. It’s also clear that the NSW Government has been listening to industry, and EEC members in particular.

Earlier this year the EEC formally released the Australian Energy Efficiency Policy Handbook, which pulls together the EEC’s long-standing policy recommendations in a comprehensive policy guide. The Draft NSW Plan has fully or partially adopted over 60 per cent of the recommendations in the EEC’s Handbook. This partly reflects constructive engagement between NSW and the EEC over many years, and partly reflects both organisations coming to similar conclusions through their commitments to evidence-based policy.

Key policies in the plan include:

  • Funding large energy users to develop energy management plans
  • Developing stronger appliance standards
  • Raising minimum standards for new commercial and residential buildings
  • Energy efficiency ratings for homes, shopping centres and data centres at point of lease and sale
  • Building the market for demand management, including encouraging Network Service Providers to look at non-network solutions and potentially running reverse auctions for demand management
  • Upgrading rental homes and shopping centres, potentially through minimum standards on tenanted spaces
  • Continuing the Home Energy Action Program to support vulnerable homes
  • Upgrading public lighting (e.g. streetlights) and facilitating upgrades to local government buildings
  • Continuing to refine and upgrade the Energy Savings Scheme.

Of course, there are gaps in the Draft NSW Plan, particularly with regards to district energy. The EEC is providing the Government with a substantive submission to highlight a range of opportunities to strengthen the Draft NSW Plan. However, the Draft NSW Plan stands head and shoulders above similar strategies around the country, and the EEC’s focus will be on working with the NSW Government to ensure that the measures proposed in the Plan are implemented and well-designed.

The quality of Draft NSW Plan reflects more than just good policy work. Firstly, the NSW Government was able to propose ambitious funding because of the long-standing Climate Change Fund. It is clear that a funding mechanism like the Climate Change Fund is critical for any government that wants to take ambitious action on energy efficiency.

Secondly, the Draft NSW Plan is the result of a clear commitment to deliver the best outcome to homes and businesses in NSW. Minister Speakman in particular should be congratulated for directing his department to both produce a genuinely world-class plan and then engage with energy users and efficiency experts to refine the Draft Plan.

We look forward to continuing to work the NSW Government as it implements the Plan, and to working with other governments that are inspired by NSW efforts in this space.

Battery storage resources launched for businesses

Interested in battery storage technology? The Office of Environment and Heritage have recently launched a suite of resources for business.

The Office of Environment and Heritage has launched a suite of resources for businesses interested in using battery storage technology.

The resources provide information on cutting-edge battery technologies, their application and current pricing to help NSW businesses understand, investigate and buy battery storage systems.

Battery storage technology will enable businesses to save on energy bill costs, and reach sustainability and renewable energy goals. The price of battery systems is steadily reducing and expected to halve within two years.

A row of battery systems in a warehouse

The resources include:

  • i am your battery storage guide: a business buying and usage handbook – to help businesses understand different battery storage systems and whether they are a good fit for their facilities.
  • Battery storage for business: the essentials – an overview of the technology including how battery storage systems work.
  • Battery storage for business: an investment decision tool – gives businesses a snapshot of installation requirements and the expected return on investment from installing a battery storage system.
  • A price estimate template - for businesses owners who wish to obtain quality quotes for the supply and installation of a battery storage system.

The battery storage for business training course – to help professionals confidently navigate through this new and exciting technology.

Battery storage technology provides financial and environmental benefits, and can also increase energy security and independence.

One business that worked with OEH on battery storage found that installing a system increased the use of renewable energy on site from 40% to 65%.

Click here to register your interest for upcoming OEH battery storage for business training courses.

Click here to access the resources, visit the battery storage for business website.

For more information, email or call 1300 361 967 (ask for the Energy Efficient Business team).

City of Sydney grant funding available to help manage and benchmark building energy use

The City of Sydney are now taking applications for the 2016 Environment Performance Grants Program

Round 4 of the City of Sydney’s 2016 Environmental Performance Grants Program is now open and inviting applications until 5pm 3 January for buildings in City of Sydney local government area to undertake energy audits, or obtain a NABERS rating and action plan.

Through the program, up to $10,000 is provided for commercial offices and accommodation buildings in the local government area to get a NABERS rating to benchmark building performance and help decision makers:

  • Understand how well energy is managed in the building (whether you own, manage or occupy)
  • Identify and prioritise opportunities to improve energy performance and save on energy bills
  • Track improvements over time
  • Report and promote energy performance through a simple, industry standard star rating.

Office buildings using NABERS to regularly measure their performance have reported an average 8.5% improvement in energy efficiency.

The City’s grants program also supports organisations to undertake energy audits for the first time. The cost of first-year energy assessments can be a significant barrier to organisations, and funding seeks to mitigate this cost. Up to $12,000 per building is available for audits that conform to the AS3598 standard.

The City of Sydney’s Grants and Sponsorship program supports the City’s work towards environmental targets it has set through its Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan, including a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the local government area by 70 per cent by 2030. Successful applicants commit to implement cost-effective opportunities identified.

More information

For full eligibility criteria and to apply for this grant please contact the City's grants team on 02 9265 9333, at or visit

Level up in 2017: Energy audit standard and measurement and verification training

The Energy Efficiency Council are excited to announce 2017 dates for our two most popular training programs

The Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) have locked in dates for their two most popular training programs, taking place in the first half of next year.

Registrations for the two training programs are now open and spaces are limited. For further information or to secure your spot, simply click on your preferred training program date and location below.

Certified Measurement & Verification Professional (CMVP) 
Training & Examination Program

The CMVP Training Program consists of a two and a half day Measurement & Verification (M&V) Fundamentals Workshop, designed to introduce M&V practitioners to the application of the International Performance Measurement & Verification Protocol (IPMVP). The Workshop is followed by a four hour examination for those who wish to achieve CMVP status. Sessions are scheduled for:

Brisbane, 15-17 March 2017
Adelaide, 20-22 March 2017
Sydney, 5-7 June 2017

Energy Auditing to the Australian Standard Training Program

Presented in partnership with the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage, the EEC's Energy Auditing to the Australian Standard Training Program gives energy audit practitioners the skills and knowledge to deliver energy audits that meet the Australian Standard 3598:2014. Sessions are scheduled for:

Adelaide, 6 April 2017
Brisbane, 27 April 2017
Melbourne, 2 May 2017

For further information on our training and professional development opportunities visit our website

If you have any further questions regarding any of the opportunities available, please contact us via email or phone 03 8327 8422.

Remember to follow us on Twitter @EECouncil or on LinkedIn for all the latest on EEC activities!