That would take Australia to the same level as other OECD countries and far behind Denmark, which is aggressively pursuing cogeneration of heat and power.
Cogeneration emerged during discussions as a key mechanism for energy efficiency, but only if a national feed in tariff is introduced and a regulated connection process put in place.
Former Victorian deputy premier John Thwaites, now chairman of ClimateWorks Australia, laid out a far broader suite of opportunities and costings, based on a recent report that analysed 54 measures across 10 sectors. He said Australia and New Zealand could cut their greenhouse emissions by at least 15 per cent by 2020 in economically beneficial ways.
Much of the low-hanging fruit is in energy efficiency, particularly around buildings.
Jonathan Jutsen, head of Energetics, said “the Australian economy is only about 10 per cent efficient – this means that 90 per cent of the energy in the fuel we dig up is lost in the supply chain and end uses”.
Energy Efficiency Council CEO Rob Murray-Leach, lamenting the absence of major energy efficiency policies in the election, claimed Australian governments waste “a staggering” $450 million a year through inefficient energy use.
Despite the apparent upside, the Energy Efficiency Opportunities program task force report shows most companies are still in basic compliance mode. Denvir urged greater engagement at director, CIO, CFO and CEO levels through the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Meanwhile, Cath Bremmer from the new Australian Carbon Trust said its initial focus will be on the building sector, especially retrofits for 20- to 40-year-old buildings.
Bruce Precious from the GPT revealed a recent building retrofit at 530 Collins St in Melbourne boosted it from a 2.5 NABERS rating to 5-star and will save $360,000 in energy costs over five years.