The Coalition Government has announced $18 million to improve energy performance, on the back of last Friday’s COAG Energy Council meeting.
To help meet the country’s 40 per cent National Energy Productivity Target, the government, together with the states and territories, has committed to a number of actions to help consumers manage their energy costs and reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, including:
- $2 million for Energy Consumers Australia to lead research to make energy choices easier for consumers, for example through better labels, personalised smart apps and new services for vulnerable consumers.
- Up to $1.7 million this financial year for improving the energy efficiency of buildings, including:
- $400,000 specifically for the world-leading National Australian Building Energy Rating Scheme to accelerate new tools for commercial buildings and apartment blocks;
- funding towards implementation of updated commercial building standards in the 2019 Australian Building Codes Board review of the National Construction Code; and
- funding to develop the case for new proposed residential building standards.
- $3.2 million this financial year for the new prioritisation strategy for accelerating appliance energy efficiency standards.
- $2.3 million this financial year for related work as part of the Gas Supply Strategy.
- $6 million to develop an Energy Use Data Model to support better forecasting and policy.
“We know our Energy Performance Standards have, in the past, driven significant improvements that we now need to build on,” Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg’s office said in a statement.
“For example, the most efficient air-conditioners sold in 2003 would no longer meet the minimum standard today, while houses built after 2010 use around 30 per cent less electricity than houses built before 2007.
“This is why the COAG Energy Council developed the National Energy Productivity Plan (NEPP) to boost Australia’s competitiveness, help consumers manage their energy costs and reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.”
New funding welcome but more needed to keep bills down
The Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) has welcomed a commitment of $18 million for key energy efficiency programs from Australian, state and territory governments, but warned more funding will be required to keep energy affordable for homes and businesses.
Energy ministers from the Australian, state and territory governments met on Friday at the COAG Energy Council. Ministers jointly committed a modest $18 million to a range of actions in the National Energy Productivity Plan (NEPP), including raising energy efficiency standards for commercial and residential buildings, improving energy efficiency standards for appliances, and new energy efficiency rating tools for apartments and commercial buildings.
“The Energy Efficiency Council welcomes Australian and state governments’ support for improving standards for buildings and appliances. Appliance standards already save the average household over $300 a year on their energy bills,” EEC CEO Luke Menzel said.
“However, far more action will be required to fix our broken energy markets and keep energy affordable for homes and businesses. Without ambitious action we will fail to meet the Australian Government’s target to improve energy productivity (a measure of energy efficiency) by 40 per cent by 2030, and that will mean higher energy bills for Australians.”
Last month, the EEC 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.