The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
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Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
15 June 2004
The Howard Government's Energy White Paper, Securing Australia' s Energy Future sets out a comprehensive strategy for sustainable energy for the next 20-30 years.
"The Howard Government places a high priority on significantly improving energy efficiency in Australia. Improved energy efficiency can deliver almost $1 billion per year in increased GDP. It is also the most cost-effective way to lower greenhouse emissions," said the Minister for Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp.
"Energy efficiency is good for the environment and contributes to an improved bottom line for businesses and lower bills for households. We want to encourage Australian businesses and households to take up all cost-effective opportunities."
The White Paper includes a requirement, starting in 2006, for businesses using more than 0.5 petajoules per year to prepare a rigorous assessment of energy efficiency opportunities every five years, and publicly report on the outcomes of this assessment and the energy performance of the firm. Each of these companies use as much energy as 10,000 average Australian households. The Government will provide $17 million to assist the introduction of this approach.
The Australian Government will seek the cooperation of State and Territory governments in implementing a requirement that residential and commercial building landlords and owners disclose energy performance information to prospective tenants and purchasers.
"These requirements ensure that energy users have much better information before making choices, and allow investors to assess whether companies are managing their energy wisely. But we will not be forcing businesses to make particular investment," said Dr Kemp.
The White Paper also includes continuing energy market reforms to improve signals for efficient energy use. $75 million Solar Cities Trials will demonstrate the benefits of pricing arrangements that reward users who manage their energy wisely, as well as household solar energy production.
The rollout of the successful and proven minimum energy performance requirements for widely used appliances and residential and commercial buildings is another key element of the policy. These standards will save consumers and businesses more than $4 billion by 2018, as well as reduce greenhouse emissions by 8 million tonnes in 2010.
The Greenhouse Challenge Programme will be firmly established as the single entry point for participation in Australian Government partnerships with industry on energy and greenhouse. Large energy resource project proponents, and businesses receiving fuel excise credits of over $3 million per annum will be required to join the programme, ensuring a systematic assessment of energy efficiency and other abatement measures.
The Australian Government will also work with States and Territories to streamline and coordinate participation in energy efficiency programmes.
"We need to ensure that all businesses and households are actively looking for new energy efficiency opportunities and that governments assist them with coordinated, streamlined and well-targeted assistance.
"Cost-effective energy efficiency improvements will improve profitability of firms and the international competitiveness of the Australian economy," said Dr Kemp.
As part of this comprehensive energy efficiency approach, the government will also establish a Productivity Commission inquiry to examine the potential economic and environmental benefits from improving energy efficiency, and possible measures to capture these benefits. It will report by mid-2005.
White Paper details are available at www.pmc.gov.au/energy_future