Victoria's energy savings test

10. července 2013 v 5:21 |  street light
There is a strong suggestion that the underlying agenda is to justify the scrapping of what otherwise has been a successful scheme. The questions posed in the issues paper are clearly canvassing the options of abolition or a phase out of the scheme.

However, legislation was recently passed to expand the ESI scheme to include street lighting upgrades. This was to compensate local government for the broken promise to provide $20 million through the Green Light Plan to accelerate the replacement of old, inefficient street lights with more efficient bulbs.

The Green Light Plan was scrapped in the 2012 Victorian budget despite a very positive review conducted only months earlier. If the ESI scheme is now itself ditched, the Green Light Plan will have the unusual distinction of having been scrapped twice.

Previous modelling undertaken by government in 2011 suggested that there would be downward pressure on overall energy prices due to cost reductions and energy savings achieved through the ESI, such as reduced energy generation costs.

Data provided by the ESC suggests that most of the certificate creation has been in relation to standby power controllers, lighting and water heating with small contributions from low flow shower rose installations and space heating improvements.

The principal criticism of the ESI has been the large role played by standby energy controllers and, in particular, the use of door-to-door distributors dispensing these free to householders. Relying on backpackers and poorly trained staff raises concern that the estimated benefits in reducing standby power will not be achieved if householders don't use the devices properly.

Limited surveys suggest this is an issue, although the majority of standby controllers are being used as intended. The reliance on door-to-door distributors and the further distribution of stand by devices could reasonably be wound back as part of the review. These problems should not be used as a pretext for abolition.

Coalition state governments have systematically scrapped or downgraded climate change and energy efficiency programs they have inherited - frequently using the excuse that these "complementary measures" are now duplicating the impact of the carbon price.

However, carbon pricing cannot succeed if it is the sole strategy to save energy and reduce greenhouse emissions. The benefit of targeted complementary programs is they provide market mechanisms to redistribute benefits to give incentives to those in a position to take effective action.

These cutbacks by Coalition states highlight a contradiction with the federal Coalition Direct Action policy which is dependent on achieving its goal of a 5 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by targeted programs to reduce energy use. Most of the targeted programs are in areas of state responsibility.

The strong climate sceptic faction within the Coalition perceives all forms of government intervention on energy efficiency as wasteful and unnecessary and a driving force for price increases.

This ignores the undoubted relationship between economic efficiency and energy efficiency for business and more directly for householders, the potential for energy savings to reduce cost of living pressures.

Domestic consumers and small business get only an indirect incentive from the carbon price. The impact of the current modest level of carbon pricing is dwarfed by the price rises in recent years due to other cost pressures on electricity retailers and distributors.Read the full story at web.

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