A national energy productivity target can reduce greenhouse emissions while growing GDP

17 Jun 2015Archived News Brian Innes Climate Change Matters

New modelling by Energetics shows that if Australia were to pursue and meet a target to double energy productivity by 2030, a 10% reduction in greenhouse emissions could be achieved on 2010 levels.  Energetics’ analysis builds on work done by the Australian Alliance to Save Energy (A2SE) which argues that an energy productivity drive would deliver a 2.8% increase in GDP to 2030, equivalent to a gain of $59.5 b (2010$) in 2030.


Energetics’ Brian Innes, General Manager of Business Development commented, “It’s good for business, for the environment and our economy.  Doubling energy productivity may attract bipartisan political support”. 

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Energy productivity utilises a wide range of strategies to both increase economic output and reduce the relative demand for energy per dollar of output.

“Working with Australia’s largest energy users we see the potential.  Improvements to be way energy is used can have a multiplier effect and deliver a range of co-benefits, as well as improve overall productivity and competitiveness.  We’ve seen this happen in businesses that understand and embrace this opportunity,” says Brian Innes.

“We also know that businesses need strategies that support reducing their carbon liability and managing the growing risks of investor scrutiny.  A focus on energy productivity can help.”

Energetics released its findings on the day that the Australian Alliance to Save Energy (A2SE) held a briefing event in Canberra with government and industry.  At this event, the A2SE outlined its progress on research into Australia’s sectors to consider the issues and the opportunities on the path to improving national energy productivity.  The A2SE also modelled the emissions reduction potential, taking a different approach to Energetics.  The A2SE evaluated emissions growth under a ‘BAU’ scenario of no national target to double energy productivity.  Their conclusion is that an energy productivity target could bring about a 29% reduction in Australia’s emissions against that BAU scenario.

Australia is in a position where low energy productivity and high energy costs act as a drag on the economy. As a nation we have moved from having some of the lowest residential electricity costs amongst OECD countries in 1990 to now having the most expensive residential electricity prices on a power purchase parity basis.  Other nations such as the United States have a target to double their energy productivity by 2030. 

“The A2SE is working with industry to understand the pathways to improved energy productivity across Australia’s sectors.  We are encouraged to see that the Government identified energy productivity as one of its themes in its recent Energy White Paper and we know it can play a role in reducing Australia’s greenhouse emissions”, says Brian Innes. 

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