VICTORIA ENGAGING WITH SMES ON RESOURCE EFFICIENCY https://www.theclimategroup.org/news/victoria-engaging-smes-resource-efficiency
New case study shows how the Australian state is supporting businesses on energy and materials efficiency by Virginia Bagnoli 24 January 2017 LONDON: The Climate Group has published a new case study, showing how the Australian state of Victoria is engaging small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to support them in improving energy and materials efficiency.
The new study demonstrates how SMEs can significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while substantially improving energy efficiency by applying sustainable resource management and energy efficient production processes.
The state of Victoria identified these gaps and designed a new program tailored to SMEs to help them change inefficient practices, save money and increase productivity through energy and materials efficiency measures.
SMEs have historically been difficult to reach and engage with on environmental programs due to company priorities and a traditional focus on shorter-term business requirements. Victoria understood that the program needed to align with fundamental business needs and provide multiple points of entry to make participation accessible.
Victoria’s program is also being viewed as particularly innovative due to its multi-faceted approach to addressing the challenges of information, understanding the business case and accessing capital. This approach was delivered by assessing and understanding the barriers for SMEs, communicating effectively to channel the multiple benefits associated with energy and materials savings, and leveraging existing policies and programs.
The program components targeted businesses at different stages of ‘readiness’ – ranging from businesses at an exploratory stage wanting to determine how they could benefit from energy and/or materials efficiency, through to businesses ready to implement specific projects.
Eligible businesses could apply for a grant to partly cover the cost of a materials efficiency or energy efficiency assessment. A competitive, merit‑based application process provided three rounds of grants of up to A$50,000 to support businesses in managing the costs of implementing materials efficiency projects. Grants of up to A$25,000 were available for energy efficiency projects (with businesses contributing at least half the cost of the project).
MAKING THE BUSINESS CASE FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY
The program ran from 2012 to 2016 and since its launch it has achieved tangible results: three rounds of grants over the past two years have provided A$3.8 million in funding to over 140 projects and these businesses are expected to save a combined A$4.74 million a year.
Recruiting businesses to the program was the greatest challenge encountered. According to the Victorian government, SMEs typically have little time to devote to what is not seen as a strategic priority for them. The key solution to this has been to convince businesses that energy and materials efficiency will help with business-critical issues and to provide financial support in order to create efficiency change and transform business performance.
Through the program, Victoria has implemented an effective method of approaching businesses and making the program attractive to them; a considerable challenge giving that materials efficiency in particular is a new concept to most businesses and service providers.
Using what was learned from the program, Victoria also recently embarked on a new initiative for SMEs, SV Business – Boosting Productivity, which will work with an additional 1,000 SMEs.
The Climate Group supports state and regional governments in developing effective climate change and clean energy policies through its Policy Innovation program. State and regional governments around the world are developing a new generation of innovative climate and energy policies and our Policy Innovation program showcases and explores these emerging models, working closely with governments for them to scale globally.
The report, released on Friday, says spending $4.9 billion on public transport infrastructure, including six new tram lines, could create 21,000 full-time equivalent jobs and reduce car use as a share of annual passenger kilometres by 20 per cent.
A less expensive option would be to create incentives for more drivers to use low-emission vehicles, including plug-in hybrid cars.
A $1.4 billion outlay would create 5600 full-time equivalent jobs but would provide a greater return on investment, reducing Adelaide’s transport-related emissions by up to 47 per cent.
“From a 50-50 split in 2015, emissions in the building sector will drop to 33 per cent, with 67 per cent of emissions accruing from transportation,” the report says. “The city will increasingly need to tackle its transport emissions to meet its targets.”
Incentives to encourage greater use of electric cars could include free public parking, exemptions from one-off purchase fees and the freedom to use dedicated bus lanes, all of which have been implemented in Norway. Electric car owners could also receive grants and streamlined permits to install their own charging stations or a reimbursement of energy recharging costs.
Premier Jay Weatherill said the report would add to the debate on ways to reduce emissions, adding that previous efforts to green the state had not constrained economic growth. “We’ve demonstrated that you can cut your emissions and at the same time grow your economy,” he told a Committee for Economic Development of Australia briefing. “These two things are not mutually exclusive.”
The agreement to fund energy-saving equipment or renewables generation will see NAB offer a rate 70 basis points below its standard equipment finance rate.
Finance will be offered through NAB, and will be across a diverse range of pre-approved assets including cars, irrigation systems, solar PV, building upgrades, lighting upgrades, processing line improvements and refrigeration……..http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2015/6/9/policy-politics/nab-offer-discounted-energy-efficiency-solar-loans
Funding for irrigators to buy renewable energy made available through Clean Energy Finance Corporation ABC Rural By Sarina Locke , 29 May 15 Irrigators, furious with power price rises, are pushing hard to install renewable energy on their farms.
To date the financial backing from banks has been largely missing.
Now the Government backed Clean Energy Finance Corporation is poised to announce a partnership with a major bank, to help irrigators invest in more efficient energy. It is just the tip of renewable energy projects in agriculture, worth $3 billion that will need financial assistance from the Corporation in future……..
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is responding. It has a program with the Commonwealth Bank, called the energy efficient loan for mid-sized companies, available nationwide. It offers small loans of $100,000 up to $5 million plus.
But the CEFC is poised to rollout more programs with other banks offering a similar product for irrigators. Continue reading
Battery energy storage project shows promise for electricity network, Eureka Alert 2 Apr 15 Cheaper, more efficient power among benefits from intelligent scheduling and operation system GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY WITH RISING ELECTRICITY PRICES ONE OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES FACING HOUSEHOLDS, GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY (AUSTRALIA) RESEARCH INTO ENERGY STORAGE AND SUPPLY HOLDS THE PROMISE OF CHEAPER, BETTER QUALITY POWER FOR THE LOW VOLTAGE (LV) ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION NETWORK.
According to the research from Griffith’s School of Engineering and published in the journal Applied Energy, a forecast-based, three-phase battery energy storage scheduling and operation system provides benefits such as reduced peak demand, more efficient load balancing and better management of supply from solar photovoltaics (PV).
Researcher Mr Chris Bennett, working under the supervision of Associate Professor Rodney Stewart and Professor Jun Wei Lu, has developed and applied an intelligent scheduling system to a South-East Queensland-based LV distribution network servicing 128 residential customers.
“The low voltage network is a typical suburb of a few hundred homes where there is a single area transformer and recently there has been a substantial increase in the number of homes with installed residential solar PV in these settings,” says Mr Bennett.
“Daily peak demand in residential networks typically occurs in the evenings in summer and both late morning and evening in winter. But because solar PV generation is dependent on incoming solar radiation, peak generation occurs during the middle of the day, typically when demand in the residential distribution network is low.”
“This means there is an incongruity between when energy is generated and when it is required, which can lead to power supply and quality issues.
“However, with a battery energy storage (BES) system comprising Lithium Ion battery banks coupled with smart power control systems, such as STATCOMS, and featuring embedded intelligent forecasting software, we can better manage the LV network.”……..
Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Threatened http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4223 18 March 14 The war on green schemes relating to energy is continuing – the latest victim could be the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET).
The VEET scheme is designed to make energy efficiency improvements more affordable. It commenced on 1 January 2009 and was legislated to continue in three-year phases until 1 January 2030.
However, it may meet a very premature end. On Sunday, the Herald Sun published a story on a “secret government report” into the scheme that recommended it be abolished and replaced by 2015. Among the reasons reportedly stated is the scheme has been labeled inefficient and a burden to other electricity users.
The Clean Energy Council says claims axing the scheme would provide substantial power bill relief are wrong; as is the conclusion it is ineffective. “The program is getting through to those that need it most and previous studies have shown that it is working well at a low cost,” said Clean Energy Council Chief Executive David Green.
“Two out of every five households in the program have below-average incomes and a third are on some form of welfare.”
Among the products covered under the scheme are selected solar hot water systems and heat pumps. Water heating represents one of the most greenhouse gas and energy intensive activities in a household. This is particularly so in Victoria given much of the state’s electricity generation is through the burning of brown coal – one of the filthiest fossil fuels.
Mr Green said the ‘secret’ modelling released to select media outlets should be fully released for public scrutiny and is confident that scrutiny will reveal VEET is continuing to deliver, both in terms of household savings and the economic activity it creates.
According to the Clean Energy Council, VEET has slashed energy costs for approximately 1.3 million households and businesses; plus has supported thousands of jobs in Victoria’s economy.
Mixed Greens: Climate youth want 100% renewables in 10 years, REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 10 February 2014″……Power outages, sparked by the periods of extreme heat that have characterised Victoria’s 2013-14 summer, would have been much more common but for the contributions of energy efficiency, a new report has found. The report, released today by the Energy Efficiency Certificate Creators Association (EECCA), found that the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) Scheme helped reduce peak demand by 187MM over the January heat wave. “Without the contribution from the VEET, the demand at 4pm on 16th January would have been 10,427 MW exceeding the previous electricity peak of 10,415 MW on 29 January 2009 in the lead up to the Black Saturday bushfires,” the report says. As well as saving over $500 million in the reduction of Victorian household and business energy bills, the report says the energy efficiency scheme reduced stress on infrastructure during the hot spell and likely reduced the prevalence of system black outs. Continue reading
Beyond Zero Emissions has estimated that implementing its Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan could reduce Australia’s emissions by more than 15 per cent, or 90 megatons of CO2-equivalent.
Casting away carbon, street by street Stephen Bygrave 14 Jan, Climate Spectator, Australia’s homes are among the largest and most inefficient in the developed world. Then we wonder why our household energy bills and carbon emissions are so high.
There are, also, few ways we get feedback regarding our household energy consumption meaning we are mostly ‘driving blind’ when it comes to energy use and emissions from our homes – we get a bill at the end of the month or end of the quarter, far past the time the energy was actually consumed. The lack of instantaneous feedback makes it difficult to correlate our energy consumption to a particular event.
An inefficient home is also uncomfortable, it is draughty, damp, too hot in summer and too cold in winter. Live in North America or Europe and you will know what an energy efficient and low emissions home is like, and the opportunities that exist for energy efficient homes in Australia.
Our homes are a ripe area for direct action, with real benefits for the climate, our comfort levels and for our hip pockets. Continue reading
Australian social service council urges government action on energy efficiency http://www.renewableenergymagazine.com/article/australian-social-service-council-urges-government-action-20130829 Renewable Energy Magazine 30 Aug 13 The Australian Council of Social Service is calling for urgent government action on affordable energy for low income households according to a new report.
The report, entitled Energy Efficiency and People on Low Incomes, identifies measures to empower households to become active participants in controlling their energy use as well as becoming more involved in the energy market and reducing energy costs.
“Energy efficiency should be a key policy response to address the impacts of rising energy prices, yet we’ve heard little mention of it in the current political debates about cost of living pressures and energy affordability” said Andrea Pape, ACOSS Senior Policy Officer. “ACOSS advocates an energy efficiency policy agenda which includes direct investment in building and fixture upgrades as well as incentives to stimulate private landlord investment in energy efficiency measures.”
Ms Pape added that the policy proposals are designed to improve energy efficiency in low income households including both private rental and social housing. Investment will improve affordability, climate resilience and health outcomes for current and future occupants.
People on low incomes in Australia, as in many other countries around the world, are especially prone to the burden of energy price rises but they lack the capital investment required to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes and are also more likely to own inefficient appliances. This has resulted in a lower incidence of measures such as insulation in low income housing and tenanted properties. While government programmes have been beneficial, they also need to be complemented by measures that deliver energy efficiency over the long term, particularly with regard to building and fixture upgrades.
“Targeted retrofits of the worst performing social housing where health, climate and hardship risks are greatest should be a high priority” continued Ms Pape. “We know that those most at risk from heatwaves are low income people, the elderly and people living with disabilities or health issues. We need to build the safety and resilience of our housing stock, and we need to start with the most vulnerable households first. This is a sensible approach in the current fiscal environment and we urge all sides of politics to commit to action on this important front.”
ACOSS proposals include the introduction of landlord tax incentives for energy efficiency measures in rental properties, the introduction of energy efficiency standards for rental properties along with mandatory disclosure of energy and water efficiency of all properties at point of sale, additional funding for targeted retrofits for the worst performing and highest risk social housing stock and financial support to help low income households afford the up-front costs of energy efficiency upgrades.
Further information: Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS)
Aust buildings could halve energy use in decade – gas free http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/aust-buildings-could-halve-energy-use-in-decade-gas-free-81837 By Sophie Vorrath on 6 August 2013 A nationwide plan to transform Australia’s existing building stock into models of energy efficiency and renewable power generation has found that residential and commercial energy use could be cut in half, and could reach zero emissions from their operations, within 10 years.
Launched on Tuesday, the The Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan – a joint effort from climate think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions and The University of Melbourne Energy Institute – sets out a strategy to retrofit Australia’s buildings, to reduce energy bills, generate renewable energy, increase comfort levels, and make workplaces more productive.
The plan finds the residential building sector would be able to achieve a 53 per cent energy use reduction overall, with some typical home categories seeing over 70 per cent reduction. Commercial buildings are estimated to be able to reduce energy use by 44 per cent overall.
A key element of the plan involves buildings going gas-free, with gas appliances deemed “too inefficient and polluting” compared to modern electric appliances which can replace them – namely heat pumps, or split-system airconditioners, as they are more commonly known. Continue reading
Australian Greens Propose Energy Savings Agency http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3760 27 May 13, Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne says an ‘Energy Savings Agency’ will make Australia’s energy system fairer, cheaper and cleaner.
Announcing the plan on Friday, Senator Milne saidFederal and State Governments had failed to prevent a blowout in spending on poles and wires; accusing some state governments on profiting from their electricity assets.
“Selling less electricity is not in their interest which is why reform of the energy market is too slow and why intervention is vital.”The Greens say the Federal Government had committed to fast-tracking establishment of a National Energy Savings Initiative to replace state-based energy
efficiency trading schemes, but three years on is yet to complete a Regulatory Impact Statement.
The proposed Energy Savings Agency would be an independent agency charged with disseminating information, analysis, advocacy and financial support to break down barriers to cheaper and cleaner energy options; such as solar power.
The Greens believe the Agency would also drive down power bills by achieving $1 billion in energy savings – energy efficiency is not only the low hanging fruit in slashing power bills; but also in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, a reduction of 3000 MW of peak demand would be achieved and 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions avoided.
The Energy Savings Agency would also ensure solar power system owners are paid a fair rate for the surplus electricity they export to the mains grid.
According to a paper (PDF) released to coincide with the announcement, “fair value” for solar electricity has been underestimated to date as benefits such as avoided electricity distribution costs and time of production were undervalued.
Targets set under the Agency would initially be ‘collaborative targets’; becoming mandatory targets if networks “do not respond adequately to the targets in this form within 18 months”.
Senator Milne said the proposal has been costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office and will cost $405 million to run each year.
Five things we learned this week …., REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson 23 November 2012“…. It’s not just renewables the incumbents have to contend with, it’s also falling demand. And it seems much of it is to do with consumer choice. A press release from Mark Dreyfus, parliamentary secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency this week highlighted just how far we have reduced our consumption, even as we bulk up on household appliances.
An eight star (yes, 8) TV in the small to medium range now costs $21 to run, one sixth the running cost of a 3-star TV, and one-twentieth the cost of a 1-star TV. Even in the large category, a 7-star TV costs just $69 a year to run, compared with a 2 star TV currently which costs $250 a year to operate. Samsung got a gong for the 8-star, LG for the 7-star.
Dreyfus says 10-star TVs are now coming into the market, causing the government to upgrade its star rating scheme to remove the bottom three rungs. These and more efficient fridges and laptops are expected to save households and businesses $5.2 billion dollars in 2020 alone. The biggest consumer in the household in terms of kilowatts consumed is often the clothes dryer. That’s where solar comes in as a really useful energy source – just hang them outside.
And don’t miss Sophie Vorrath’s The week in green numbers …. http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/five-things-we-learned-this-week-42434
Solar panels, energy efficiency, high utility prices, are causing slump in demand for coal powered electricity
Power industry in the dark as demand wilts WA Today October 19, 2012 – “…… Demand slump The process itself is clear enough. Higher prices are prompting people to use less power, whether at home or at work. The higher dollar has forced some energy-intensive manufacturers to reduce output or shift abroad.
Solar panels sprouting on roofs at the pace of about 300,000 homes a year and more insulation batts underneath them are also curbing demand, particularly at peak times. Buildings are also much more energy efficient. Continue reading
Energy firm claims battery storage breakthrough SMH, October 10, 2012 – Peter Hannam
Carbon economy editor A South Australian energy firm is claiming an international breakthrough in battery technology that will help generators of solar and wind power store their energy more cheaply.
ZEN Energy Systems today unveiled a computer-controlled storage system – with one model about the size of a bar fridge – which almost doubles the effectiveness of batteries.
“This technology is a game changer for the renewable energy industry and has the potential to change the way individuals and communities use electricity in the future,” ZEN’s chief executive officer, Richard Turner, said.
Mr Turner said as many as 10 Australian utilities are interested in trialling the system and the company has already begun shipping large-scale container-sized units to US clients…….. Continue reading
Adelaide is leading the way in water-sensitive urban design and green roof technology.
Roof gardens proven to cool buildings ABC Radio The World Today Nicola Gage reported this story on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 ELEANOR HALL: Roof gardens are becoming more prevalent in the world’s major cities.
Now a study has found that not only are they building mini-ecosystems, they’re also cooling buildings significantly and reducing carbon emissions, as Nicola Gage reports.
NICOLA GAGE: Major cities have inherently been linked to pollution and rising carbon emissions, but 22 stories up on the roof of a building in Adelaide, there’s a micro-climate that’s returning wildlife to the city.
GRAEME HOPKINS: It’s had bees up here collecting honey, it’s got birds and we’ve identified two moth varieties and no doubt the birds have been chasing the moths. So there’s a whole ecosystem and this has
happened spontaneously on the 22nd floor, so it’s quite amazing. Continue reading