Energy efficiency as key driver for emissions reduction and job creation

A new report from Australia’s climate change authority has pointed to energy efficiency as one of the quickest and cheapest ways to reduce emissions while improving productivity and creating jobs.

The Energy Efficiency Council’s (EEC’s) CEO Luke Menzel welcomed the report’s findings on the role energy efficiency improvements will play in the move to a 21st century energy system.

“The ongoing debate around how we generate energy here in Australia is important. However we will miss a huge opportunity if we don’t also pursue opportunities for smarter energy use,” he said.

The report, Towards a Climate Policy Toolkit: Special Review on Australia’s Climate Goals and Policies, draws on the latest evidence from Australia and around the world. Key findings include:

  • Energy efficiency is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reduce emissions
  • Many energy efficiency opportunities are low cost or negative cost
  • Improving energy efficiency can have a variety of other benefits, including job creation and productivity gains
  • Using energy more efficiently can also improve the affordability of energy.

“Let’s call a spade a spade: transitioning our energy system to low carbon forms of generation without also pursuing ambitious energy efficiency measures would be crazy. It would take longer, be more expensive and miss some very big opportunities to create jobs and improve productivity across Australia’s economy,” Mr Menzel said.

“Australia needs to walk and chew gum at the same time. We need to carefully manage the transition taking place in energy generation, while pursuing cost effective opportunities for smarter energy use.”

The report makes recommendations for government action to promote cost effective energy efficiency improvements by households, commercial buildings and large energy users. Many of the report’s findings echo recommendations made in the Australian Energy Efficiency Policy Handbook, released by the EEC just a few weeks ago.

“At the COAG Energy Council Meeting held in Canberra two weeks ago, Australia’s energy ministers – led by Josh Frydenberg MP – acknowledged the need for better integration between Australia’s climate and energy policies. This report underlines the reality that any serious move in this direction would make ambitious energy efficiency a central pillar of Government action,” Mr Menzel said.