Energy efficiency program faces uncertain future

Energy efficiency program faces uncertain future
18 Dec 2013Archived News Energetics in the News EEO, "Govt program"

PUBLISHED by Carbon & Environment Daily on 18 December 2013.

The Federal Government has stopped funding the Energy Efficiency Opportunities program, but that probably doesn't signal the scheme's demise. 

Yesterday's MYEFO statement released by Treasurer Joe Hockey said funding for the EEO program would be "terminated" from July 1, next year.

A spokeswoman for Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane yesterday said this meant the program "won't continue in its current form past 30 June 2014".

"The Department of Industry will consult key stakeholders, and inform the Minister how industry can optimise energy efficiency in future," she said in emailed comments.

Energetics founder and executive director Jon Jutsen today told CE Daily the announcement has thrown "another piece of uncertainty ... into the mix unnecessarily".

But he says the EEO program could continue to be administered by the Department of Industry out of consolidated revenue, although with a reduced level of support for participating businesses.

Jutsen also points out that axing the scheme can't be achieved solely through a funding announcement.

The program's establishing legislation would have to be repealed and the Government has given no indication that it intends to introduce a repeal bill.

However, Jutsen predicts that there will be "increasing interest" over the coming year in providing an exit point from the scheme for corporations that successfully complete two EEO reporting cycles.

This could take the form of freeing companies from EEO obligations if they take on voluntary energy targets and meet the requirements of the ISO50001 energy management standard, he says.

Irrespective of what happens after July 1, many corporations are due to submit EEO reports to the Government by the end of this month, and to release an associated public report.

Macfarlane's office did not respond by publication time to a request for further clarification of the fate of the scheme.

 

Read article on the CE Daily website.

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