A NEW survey of Australia’s largest energy users shows an improvement in attitudes and behaviour towards energy efficiency, but significant barriers remain in the lead up to the introduction of an emissions trading scheme.
The survey by Energetics found that there are three main barriers to participation in the federal government’s mandatory Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) scheme (www.energyefficiencyopportunities.gov.au), which was introduced in 2006 and requires energy-intensive businesses to identify and report on energy efficiency opportunities.
The three main barriers to energy efficiency investment were:
• The lack of a price on carbon emissions
• A need for financial or tax incentives
• Resource limitations — businesses lack the staff time, skills and budget resources to meet EEO requirements.
The EEO scheme appears to have been effective in changing business culture as well as finding savings opportunities with nearly 40 percent of respondents indicating they have used it to drive their energy management beyond minimum compliance requirements.
Participation is mandatory for the 220 companies that consume more than 500 terajoules of energy per year, with initial savings assessments due for completion by 30 June this year, and all assessments due by 2011.
Energetics founder Jon Jutsen says the findings contain a number of messages for the government as it prepares to introduce an emissions trading scheme.
“While over half of businesses surveyed see a carbon price as a valuable element in driving energy savings, a similar proportion identified capital incentives and availability of skilled resources as being equally important,” said Jutsen.
“These findings support the argument for establishing a strong complementary program to help businesses transition to a carbon constrained economy,” he said.
“Any transition plan should include financial incentives and skills support to assist companies to improve their energy efficiency. This is the only way to remain competitive in an age of higher energy and carbon costs than when their facilities were designed.”
The Energetics Energy Efficiency Opportunities Participant Survey is available from Energetics by visiting www.energetics.com.au