Smart energy for smart business

New research in Australia has shown that investment in energy efficiency could save significant amounts of money not only for individuals and businesses, but also for the Australian economy as a whole.

The Climate Institute claims that Australia's poor levels of investment in energy efficiency are costing the nation tens of billions of dollars in economic growth. According to the institute's  research, if Australia doesn't match other nations' rates of energy efficiency development, the country will miss out on $26 billion in revenue by 2030.

"If Australia improved its energy efficiency by just an extra one per cent each year it would generate an additional $8 billion in GDP by 2020 and $26 billion by 2030," said John Connor, chief executive officer of the Climate Institute.

"This is an important contribution to improving Australia’s productivity, as well as cutting our energy bills and carbon pollution."

The Climate Institute's research has broken ground in that it is the first to quantify the impact that energy efficiency, or a lack thereof, can have on economic outfit. Even a one per cent improvement in energy efficiency turned out to boost GDP per person by 0.1 percentage points.

It was identified that sectors such as manufacturing, resources, construction, freight and air transport could cut their energy use by 11 per cent through improvements in efficiency, saving companies approximately $3 billion a year.

Methods of improving energy efficiency include upgrading equipment, retrofitting buildings and refining operation processes.

"This new research reaffirms that improvements in energy efficiency and economic growth are not mutually exclusive," said Ben Waters of GE Australia, who is also the New Zealand director of ecomagination.

"By making even small investments in our energy productivity, we have the opportunity to reach new levels of efficiency, drive economic growth and improve utilisation of our scarce energy, mineral, agricultural and water resources while reducing carbon emissions."

The Clean Energy Council (CEC) has asserted its support for the Climate Institute's findings. Chief executive David Green has stated that investment by businesses and individuals in energy efficiency technology will pay off many times over due to the savings made on energy bills.

He noted that as a society, Australia is paying more for its power than it needs to, with high usage and electricity prices. This is because it has not adequately embraced energy efficiency, despite the fact that the technology is readily available and cost effective.

Posted by Charlie Moore