South East Councils Submission Regarding the Expansion of the Energy Saver Incentive
14 April, 2011
Subject: Expansion of the Energy Saver Incentive
SECCCA wishes to make the following general comments on an expansion of the Energy Saver Incentive.
The South East Councils Climate Change Alliance (SECCCA) is a collaboration of 8 Councils to Melbourne’s south and east. Together, SECCCA councils serve over 860,000 residents, a number that is rising rapidly with some of the fastest growth in the Casey and Cardinia municipalities. Member councils also include the strongly urbanised Cities of Bayside, Kingston and Frankston, the peri-urban Mornington Peninsula Shire to the very rural Shires of Baw Baw and Bass Coast.
SECCCA Councils are working on energy efficiency to save money, reduce emissions, mitigate against the climate change impacts and provide leadership and encourage residents to do the same.
This review of the current regulatory impact statement into the Energy Saver Incentive Scheme provides a significant opportunity for Victorian Local Governments to become eligible as beneficiaries under the scheme, alongside small and medium businesses and residential customers of energy.
It appears that that this first phase of the energy saver scheme has been successful and that the preferred option during the next phase is a doubling of the target. Any new scheme should be considered within the context of the complete range of government programs and the support that they need. The introduction of a carbon price will drive change but there will still be a strong role to play in the change process; in building awareness, conducting community engagement activities and implementing efficiency programs. Local government is integrally involved in all of these.
Initiatives generated at one level of government can be significant in shifting costs onto local government where officers spend a lot of time responding to resident and small business questions about these initiatives. It would appear that local government has not been considered for a role in the scheme despite its proven track record (e.g Cities for Climate Protection Program). in working with households and businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over many years. Anecdotal evidence suggests that local government plays a support and advisory role for households and businesses and this should be recognised in a more formal role and supported. Certainly for state government schemes such as the Energy Saver Incentive, local government must be consulted in the development and supported for their role in the implementation, from building general awareness to providing detailed advice in the roll-out.
These comments notwithstanding, many if not all SECCCA Councils would like to be considered for involvement in Energy Saver Incentive scheme as it would assist greatly in providing incentives to accelerate work that they are already doing. Councils own and operate many community facilities from which there are large energy savings available. Local government inclusion in the Energy Saver Incentive Scheme would assist in realising these savings as the certificates that would be generated would assist in recovering the cost of work needed to make the savings. Further, local publicity given to the savings that councils were making would add to the community leadership that councils already play.
A matter of great import for local government is the provision of safe levels of public lighting. In many cases, this provision is responsible for half of a council’s energy bills and a significant proportion of their greenhouse gas emissions. Anything that provided an incentive to change the current relatively emissions-intensive technology to the now-available efficient technologies would be well received by SECCCA members.
A Business Case conducted by the Moreland Energy Foundation showed a state-wide replacement to the energy efficient T5 lights would:
Cost $100 million over the next 4 years
Deliver 1.7 million tonnes of emissions abatement to the year 2030
Deliver $40 million of savings to local government until the year 2030
Local Government has the capacity to contribute significantly to the State Government’s legislated goal of reducing carbon emissions 20% below 2000 levels by 2020. Inclusion of Councils in the Energy Saver Incentive would be useful step towards this achievement.
Disclaimer: the views represented in this response do not necessarily reflect the views of any one or all of the SECCCA member councils.