Buildings the only highlight as Australia falls behind in energy efficiency assessment
A global assessment of the energy efficiency of the world’s biggest energy consumers has found Australia is a long way behind other industrialised countries.
The 2016 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, produced by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), ranked Australia 16th out of 23 countries – only slightly ahead of Russia and Indonesia. The assessment took into account both energy efficiency performance and policy settings.
While Australia ranked poorly overall, our best performing category was the buildings category, in which we received a score of 15.5 (ninth overall). This was attributed to Australia’s “fairly comprehensive building codes, building labeling program, and appliance and equipment labeling program.” The report refers to Australia’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) from buildings, including mandatory energy codes, and the codes Tasmania has in place for the renovation of existing commercial and residential buildings.
Australia’s worst performing categories were transportation and energy efficiency efforts. Ranking second to last on transportation, the country beat Saudi Arabia by just one point. Australia’s fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles expired in 2010 and were not extended; yet even when they did exist, they only applied to heavy-duty trucks. “In addition, Australia’s percentage of public transit use is low (approximately 12 percent), and it invests only about $0.50 in rail facilities for every dollar spent on road construction and maintenance,” the report says.
Australia scored just as poorly for its industrial energy efficiency efforts. “CHP (combined heat and power) is not a priority for the country, and as of 2014, the government had shut down its Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) program, in an effort to reduce costs for businesses and abide by the current administration’s deregulation agenda,” the report says. “The EEO aimed to improve the identification and evaluation of energy efficiency opportunities by large energy-using corporations, and as a result, encourage implementation of cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities.”
In terms of national efforts, Australia’s score sat around the middle mark. This is due to the government’s aims to increase energy productivity by 40 percent by 2030, and the National Energy Productivity Plan which was released last year.
Energy Efficiency Council chief executive officer Luke Menzel says that the report underlines the cold hard fact that Australia has fallen well behind our global competitors. “Australia lags well behind other wealthy countries on energy efficiency, in fact, we’re in the same group as Russia, Mexico, Indonesia, and Thailand. Australia’s consistently poor rankings for smart energy use are a direct result of energy efficiency being an afterthought in our energy policy.”
“Australia continues to fall behind while leaders like Germany take an integrated approach, investing in energy efficiency, battery storage and low carbon generation at the same time,” he says.
The full report can be found here.