Jonathan Jutsen: the smart money is on a low carbon future

01 May 2011Archived News Energetics in the News

PUBLISHED: The Fifth Estate. Jonathan Jutsen’s company (Energetics) consults to around half the top 50 companies on the Australian Stock Exchange and about one third of the top 200. Energetics helps them devise their energy and carbon strategy and provides the technical, financial and commercial services to implement it.

"That's our model and for a lot of companies we assist them from strategy through to implementation and also their monitoring and verification," Jutsen says.

The model works. Set up 27 years ago, Jutsen says it is now the largest specialist energy consultant in Australia, with 120 people after a growth spurt of nearly 15 per cent in the past year.

The company recently won the "Best value professional services company" in the BRW Awards for Professional Services Excellence, and was shortlisted for four other awards in the competition.

Energetics clients are liberally peppered through the property world - AMP, Colonial, Stockland and Lend Lease, as well as major banks - among many others.

The company also has significant clients in the retail sector. "Woolworths has been an early leader in this field. They've got a very aggressive reduction program, which they've been implementing since 2007 and it's been consistently rolled out."

The plan is to reduce its footprint by 40 per cent on a square metre basis by 2015, Jutsen says.

Despite a lack of firm government policies other major companies have started to rapidly make moves.

So what exactly do these companies do to cut their carbon footprint?

It's systematic energy efficiency improvement, alternative fuels and renewables, plus utilising a range of technologies to improve their core processes, Jutsen says.

"The best companies develop a strategy that recognise that things will be different in a low carbon world. These leading companies then look at their opportunities to reduce carbon emissions by doing long term abatement analysis" Jutsen says. And this can be over periods as long as 10-20 years.

What works best?

"There are no magic bullets in this area," but Jutsen says there are some big discernable trends gathering momentum. Part of his job is to keep an eye on these, at home and globally through international conferences and trade shows.

According to Jutsen one strong trend in the property area, only set to get bigger, is LED (or lighting that uses light emitting diodes). LEDs are increasingly being used not just for specialist lighting applications but for entire lighting requirements, he says.

"You can do things with LEDs that you can't do with other lighting systems. They will make a huge difference."

Jutsen was in the US last year at the huge World Energy Engineering Congress.

"One huge exhibit hall was one third full of LED lighting by major lighting manufacturers," he says.

At the Hannover Fair, Jutsen saw a huge hall full of electric vehicles. It's not directly connected to his business he says, but the big picture trend is clear that the big manufacturers see "the future of personal transport will be around electric vehicles."

Another technology gaining ground was photovoltaics embedded in building components such as roofs and awnings.

Right alongside is also a fast developing smart grids systems and distributed energy technology for consumers, from large-scale trigeneration right down to one kilowatt systems for a single house.

Predictably, Jutsen says Australia could go a lot further with energy efficiency. What is needed now is a carbon price and certainty on policies.

Not to mention an improvement on the politics. One thing that annoys Jutsen is the level of misinformation coming through media outlets on the cost of a carbon price.

"There's a lot of misleading information - claims about how a carbon price will destroy industries. An example is the food processing industry which claimed it would be create a 3-5 per cent rise in the cost of food.

"It will be less than 1 per cent. There's been a lot of exaggerations. You just have to do the calculations."

Jutsen says he understands why so many Australians are concerned about the impact of a new tax, but much of the current and perceived financial pain comes from the unusually high Australian dollar. "It’s making it very tough to for manufacturers."

So what chance does he give the carbon price of getting through?

"Better than a 50-50 shot," he says. "But then, I'm an optimist."

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