Victoria's energy efficiency under review

Victoria's Energy Saver Incentive Scheme (ESI) is moving forward and is currently calling for public comment on the scheme's performance so far and how it should progress into the future.

On June 7, state energy and resources minister Nicholas Kotsiras encouraged citizens to give their views and comment on the issues paper which was released in order to review the ESI.

The ESI began in 2009 with the aim of promoting energy efficiency in the home in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to save on electricity and gas.

Furthermore it hoped to encourage investment, employment and technology development in industries that supply goods and services which reduce household use of gas and electricity.

"Energy efficiency is one of the best ways households and businesses can reduce their energy use and keep their power bills down," said Mr Kotsiras.

"It is therefore important that we have effective programs to help Victorians improve the energy efficiency of their homes and make the best use of the energy they are paying for."

The government is calling for feedback to see if consumers believe the initiative is working and driving real change so that the program can continue to create the most impact possible.

Issues of particular impact in the submission include any barriers to the uptake of efficiency measures, the performance of the scheme to date, and the future of the ESI overall.

Upon its conception, the scheme had a target of reducing lifetime greenhouse gas emissions by 2.7 million tonnes per year in the residential sector. This target was doubled to 5.4 million for 2012-14, expanding to include business and non-residential sectors.

Following feedback and further consideration, a Regulatory Impact Statement will be released with new regulations for the scheme. This report is scheduled for release in 2014.

The ESI's targets are legislated to occur in three-year phases, with December 2014 being the end of the second phase, and so the information collected now on the ESI's performance will inform the legislation decisions for the next phase. 

With the scheme having been operating for four years, there is ample real world data for the evaluation of the impact of the ESI on energy consumption and energy markets.

With electricity prices remaining high in Australia, energy efficiency measures are one way that households can cut back on electricity usage and save on their power bills.

Posted by Charlie Moore