All Australians are yet to access the benefits of energy savings schemes
Australia does not have a National Energy Savings Scheme (NESS).
The establishment of energy savings schemes in all jurisdictions across Australia has been recommended by independent national agencies and peak bodies including the Climate Change Authority (CCA), Energy Efficiency Council (EEC), Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) and the ESIA. The Business Council of Australia recommended a NESS for residential customers in 2021.
National initiatives are beginning to recognise the critical need to consider 'energy efficiency first' in policy settings.
Nationally, Australia has the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) including limited energy efficiency methods and the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), the Safeguard Mechanism and National Energy Productivity Plan (NEPP) Target.
Australia continues to sit at the bottom end of the International energy efficiency ranking.
Since the change of government in March 2022, the incoming Labor government has been more supportive of energy efficiency as part of a suite of emerging climate change and energy market transformation policy settings. This includes legislating the 43% emissions reduction target by 2030 under the Climate Change Act.
Carbon Farming Initiative, Emissions Reduction Fund and Safeguard Mechanism
Commenced: ERF came into effect 13 December 2014
Commitment date: Will conclude when funding is complete.
Administrator: Clean Energy Regulator
Regulator: Clean Energy Regulator
Policy framework responsibility: Australian Government, Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DSER)
Ministerial responsibility: Federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy
Energy efficiency successful projects and participants: Visit CER website ERF auction results)
The ESIA is advocating for an adjustment to the CFI, ERF and Safeguard Mechanism to:
- complement the current market-based energy savings schemes;
- make access easier to facilitate greater uptake of energy efficiency projects;
- ensure that these projects are treated on a level playing field with other project types as there has been little support to date;
- significantly tighten Safeguard baselines as they are currently fairly weak; and
- improve and expand methodologies to make them more relevant for energy efficiency upgrades.
Some ESIA Members are accredited to deliver energy efficiency methods.
National Energy Productivity Plan (NEPP)Target
On 4 December 2015, the National Energy Productivity Plan 2015-2030 (NEP) & Target was released by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council. The ESIA determined that energy efficiency was factored in to deliver one-third of the 2030 emissions savings target within the NEPP 2015-2030. (See EECCA Media Release - 7 Dec 2015 for source data and analysis.)
The ESIA is advocating for the NEPP to:
- further recognise the contribution that energy efficiency can make to Australia's emissions savings target with more impetus needed to maximise the potential that market-based energy efficiency schemes across the nation can make for further reductions.
Other relevant agreements, policy measures and programs
- Australian Government webpage with key links (since 2022 election)
- Powering Australia Plan
- Australia's Nationally Determined Contribution (June 2022)
- UNFCCC Paris Climate Change Agreement 2015
- Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Program
- Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS)
- Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program
Legislated energy efficiency mechanisms and measurable targets are limited primarily to the energy savings schemes established by state and governments in Victoria (Vic), New South Wales (NSW), South Australia (SA) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Other jurisdictions do have some energy efficiency initiatives: Queensland (Qld), Western Australia (WA), the Northern Territory (NT) and Tasmania (Tas).