Emissions high, productivity low: National Energy Emissions Audit

AEC

New research by The Australia Institute shows Australia is not on track to meet the aims of the National Energy Productivity Plan (NEPP), warning that poor energy productivity is a major cause of both rising emissions and energy costs.

The Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program has released the latest National Energy Emissions Audit, analysing the electricity sector over the previous month.

Key findings:

  • Energy productivity in Australia has increased very little in recent years, and is falling further behind the productivity targets established by the National Energy Productivity Plan in 2015, leaving energy costs high and efficiency low
  • Australia’s fossil fuel emissions are rising, against the trend in most other OECD countries
  • Major contributors to rising Australia’s fossil fuel emissions are: transport, manufacturing, mining, and petroleum and gas, which have all gone up since 2005
  • The only exception to rising emissions is electricity generation, which has seen reduced emissions since 2009, as frequently reported by the NEEA Electricity Updates

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“Australians are paying more money for less efficient, less reliable energy and producing more emissions than most of our OECD counterparts,” says Dr Hugh Saddler, author of the report.

“If this government is truly focused on lowering electricity prices for everyday Australians, or serious about meeting our Paris target, energy productivity should be of highest-priority.

“The NEPP has existed since 2015, yet most of its 34 conditions are still not being met by government—this is clearly being reflected as emissions continue to rise and Australian’s endure ever increasing electricity costs.

“Simple productivity measures put forth in the NEPP, such as Improving light vehicle efficiency through fuel efficiency standards or an electric vehicle strategy, would help address both issues: reducing out-of-pocket costs for consumers and curbing the emissions output from one of Australia’s worst-polluting industries.

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“Proper, independent regulation of new buildings to ensure that they all meet minimum energy efficiency performance standards could also make an important contribution.

“Phasing out Australia’s old and unreliable coal fleet for highly efficient and cost-effective renewables, is another measure that has been shown to decrease emissions and increase productivity.”