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States Recognise Power of Energy Efficiency

State Governments spending more than $1 billion on energy efficiency

November 2020 is seen by many in the industry as a major turning point in Australian Governments’ commitment to Energy Efficiency. As many as Four State Governments have earlier this month announced major investments and policy actions to improve energy efficiency across various sectors in the economy 

South Australia (SA), Victoria (VIC), New South Wales (NSW) and Australian Capital Territory (ACT) have committed in excess of $1 billion combined on new spending for energy efficiency programs and initiatives over the next 3-4 years. 

A collective COVID-19 economic recovery plan launched by industry groups earlier this year, Building Efficiency for Jobs and Growth, presented a series of recommendations for governments to achieve job creation and emissions savings by leveraging the potential of high-quality buildings and infrastructure. Several states have now recognised the benefits highlighted in the report, with many of the recommendations now adopted. 

In this post, we provide a state-by-state breakdown of these exciting new initiatives. 

South Australia’s push towards sustainable government buildings


Government of South Australia (Logo)

The SA Government is investing $60 million over the next two years to improve energy efficiency in government buildings, creating hundreds of jobs and cutting the taxpayers’ electricity bill.  

“The $60 million commitment is the largest per capita stimulus investment of any Australian Government in improving the energy efficiency of public buildings,” said Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan 

“Simple measures like better insulation, shading, new lighting and more efficient air-conditioning can bring older public buildings that get too hot in summer and too cold in winter in line with modern energy efficiency standards. 

“The Marshall Government is driving an ambitious transition to net-100% renewable energy with an aspiration to reduce emissions by more than 50% by 2030 from 2005 levels.  

“The SA-NSW Interconnector, Home Battery Scheme, Grid Scale Storage Fund, Government Supply Contract, demand management and now the building refurbishment program are all part of the Marshall Government’s plans to reduce emissions whilst also reducing electricity bills. 

The SA Government has not yet released any further details of this program, and we anticipate that they will consult with the Energy Efficiency Council and its members before the program details are finalised. 

Victoria Government spends big on slashing power bills in homes


The Victorian Government announced transformational package of investment and reforms to improve the energy efficiency of Victorian homes, with $797 million in spending across a raft of measures to cut power bills and greenhouse gas emissions  

 The Victorian commitment follows a cross-community push for governments to invest in improving energy efficiency to both stimulate the economy to drive recovery from Covid-19 and help set up a long-term response to the climate crisis. 

Luke Menzel, the chief executive of the National Energy Efficiency Council, said it was a “transformative investment” that would create thousands of local jobs, help the climate and save lives. He cited evidence that a similar New Zealand program led to $7 in benefits for every $1 spent, mostly through reductions in health costs and deaths. 

Emma King, the chief executive of the Victorian Council of Social Service, said the commitments were “good for people, good for the economy and good for the planet”. 

In addition to its commitment to energy efficiency, the Victorian Government is also making giant strides in improving the reliability of intermittent energy sources such as Wind and Solar by investing in large-scale battery storage. 

The Victorian Government recently awarded a contract to a French renewable energy developer to build Australia’s biggest Tesla battery farm in Geelong 

The 300MW/450MWh Victorian Big Battery will be more than twice the size of the 150MW/194MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve, which was until recently the biggest battery in the world, and was recently expanded to add new synthetic inertia and other key grid services to South Australia. 

The big battery will be operational at the end of 2021. 

New South Wales lighting up public schools in a push towards an efficient, clean energy future


 The NSW Government announced a spending package of more than $150 million to install LED lights in public schools across the state. 

 Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell announced that the NSW Government is committing more than $150 million to install LED lights in public schools over the next two years. 

”Retrofitting schools with energy-efficient lights in classrooms, libraries, halls, and administration areas deliver great outcomes for our schools. This program will benefit the environment while saving on energy costs every year,” Mr. Perrottet said. 

The program will target schools in communities across NSW that are yet to benefit from an infrastructure project among the already committed $6.7 billion invested in 190 new and upgraded school projects. 

“Importantly, this program will help stimulate local economies, supporting hundreds of jobs and building on the NSW Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan.” according to a statement by the government. 

The NSW Government also launched theSchools Renewable Energy Infrastructure Pilot Project, demonstrating its commitment to making public schools even more sustainable. The pilot project will assess the benefits and costs of large-scale implementation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, batteries and demand response initiatives in NSW public schools. 

Both of these programs will improve the sustainability of schools and take steps towards the NSW Government’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. 

 

ACT Government commits to major actions on energy efficiency 


The newly re-elected Labor-Greens government has negotiated a Parliamentary and Governing Agreement outlining governance and policy direction for the next four years. The parties agree that the world is facing a climate change emergency, and commit to undertaking rapid, science-based action to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and transition the ACT to net-zero emissions.  

Some of the policies outlined in the agreement include: 

 

References: 

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/nov/18/victoria-pledges-797m-for-australias-biggest-household-energy-efficiency-drive  

https://www.eec.org.au/news/eec-news/article/states-recognise-power-of-energy-efficiency-and-social-housing-investment-to-drive-economic-recovery  

https://education.nsw.gov.au/news/latest-news/powering-our-public-schools-into-the-future  


 

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