The energy sector, which in 1996 accounted for 79 per cent of Australia's
total net greenhouse gas emissions (excluding emissions from land clearing), remains the
key focus for the Government's response to greenhouse emissions. Measures addressing the
efficiency of energy supply and end-use figure prominently in the Prime Minister's
Statement Safeguarding the Future: Australia's Response to Climate Change. These
measures extend ongoing initiatives in energy efficiency.
These measures, together with other initiatives in the National Greenhouse Strategy which were approved by the Council of Australian Governments in December 1998, require cooperative action by Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments through existing Ministerial Council mechanisms for the efficient and effective delivery of joint initiatives.
Significant advances will be made also in energy efficiency in Commonwealth operations, which will be reported annually, and in cooperative initiatives with industry in the implementation of the Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme.
Emphasis is being given to developing energy codes and standards for residential and
commercial buildings and a wider range of appliances and equipment. This strategy is being
supported by the Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme for industry.
Particular emphasis is being given to extending minimum energy performance standards to appliances and equipment and a strategy has been developed to streamline processes. The Government has accepted building industry proposals for a comprehensive strategy to address building energy efficiency through voluntary industry best practice initiatives and mandatory measures through the Building Code of Australia.
Contact: Australian Greenhouse Office -- 02 62741971
Australia will continue to be a world leader in energy market reform, with $5.6 million being provided to the year 2002-2003 to ensure the process continues to move toward a more competitive and efficient market in which all energy sources can compete more fairly. This will include efforts to extend electricity market reform and deliver compatible arrangements for gas and electricity in order to facilitate the delivery of integrated energy services. Mechanisms to identify the greenhouse intensity of energy trading pools will also be developed.
Contact: Department of Industry, Science and Resources -- 02 6272 4475
Two key greenhouse measures that will help Australia lower the greenhouse intensity of
its energy supply are the extra 2 per cent Renewable Energy Target and the
Efficiency Standards for Power Generation measure. The Government has stipulated a
requirement for electricity retailers and large buyers to purchase an additional
2 per cent of their electricity requirements from new renewable energy sources
by 2010. This will take the share of renewables in Australia's energy supply to around
12.7 per cent.
The objectives of the renewable energy target are:
The objective of the Energy Efficiency Standard measure is to achieve movement towards
best practice fossil fuel electricity generation efficiency for new, existing and
refurbished plant and, in so doing, reduce greenhouse emissions.
The Government is working closely with the States and Territories in developing these measures as well as with industry and the wider community. The Government expects to make an announcement on the implementation mechanisms for both these measures during 1999-2000.
Contact: Australian Greenhouse Office -- 02 62741392
While more greenhouse friendly fossil fuel use, including greater penetration of
natural gas will be a major source of greenhouse abatement; increased use of renewable
energy is a central component of a long-term greenhouse response. The Government has
developed a programme of support for renewable energy to ensure that Australia remains at
the forefront of renewable energy technology applications.
There is also considerable potential to increase exports. Many developing countries do not have adequate energy supply industries or are dependent on small-scale diesel-based or petrol-based power, and all countries are seeking ways to limit their greenhouse gas emissions.
An allocation of $10 million has been provided for the Renewable Energy Showcase programme, a single-round, competitive grants programme to support and promote selected leading edge projects that are close to becoming commercial. Successful projects, which were announced on 22 December 1998, are:
The Renewable Energy Commercialisation Programme has been allocated $30 million
for a five-year, competitive grants programme to support and promote renewable energy
initiatives that have strong commercialisation potential. There are two funding rounds per
year. In the first round, which was announced in April 1999, almost $6 million was
offered for eight projects.
The Renewable Energy Equity Fund (REEF) has been allocated $21 million to provide venture capital funding to companies which are in the early stages of development. This Government funding is to be supplemented by at least $10 million of private-sector funds. The fund will have a life of ten years. The Government has recently advertised for a private sector manager for the fund.
The Government has also provided $300,000 for a Renewable Energy Internet Site to promote the Australian renewable energy industry and provide information on technologies examples of their application and available government assistance. The site will become operational in mid-1999.
Contact: Australian Greenhouse Office -- 02 6274 1832
|Box 8.6: Energy use in Commonwealth Operations 1997-98
The Government has demonstrated its commitment to improving energy efficiency in its own operations by tabling the first whole of Government energy report, Energy Use in Commonwealth Operations 1997-98. The report presents the first summary of total energy used by Commonwealth departments and agencies and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with this energy use. The report therefore provides the essential framework for measuring progress towards meeting the Government's energy efficiency targets. Targets are at present set in three end use categories and the report shows that the following reductions must be achieved by 2002-2003 in order to meet these targets: 25 per cent reduction in Office: Tenant Light and Power, 10 per cent reduction in Office: Central Services, and a 14 per cent reduction in Defence Establishments. The report shows that in general, the majority of Commonwealth agencies are well on the way to meeting their targets.
This whole-of-government report is a requirement under the policy Measures for Improving Energy Efficiency in Commonwealth Operations, which is one element of the Government's policy response to climate change announced by the Prime Minister in November 1997.
Contact: Department of Industry Science and Resources -- 02 6272 4475
In collaboration with industry and other stakeholders, the Commonwealth will develop an action agenda for emerging and renewable energy aimed at developing internationally competitive Australian renewable energy industries servicing Australian and export markets. This industry development strategy will encompass renewable energy sources, emerging technologies for generation and storage and services inputs.
Contact: Department of Industry, Science and Resources -- 02 6213 7580
The CRC for Terrestrial Carbon Accounting will commence on 1 July 1999 with CRC Programme funding of $15.4 million over seven years. It will undertake research to reduce Australia's net greenhouse gas emissions from its land-based industries, such as agriculture, pastoralism and forestry while improving the sustainability of these same sectors. It will provide research to support Australia in meeting its obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and in its negotiations following the Kyoto Protocol. An immediate priority is research to establish the 1990, current and future emissions and sinks of greenhouse gases. These estimates will form the basis of Australia's future obligations in emissions reduction and the basis for selecting mitigation approaches. The research activities will provide Australia with world's leading practice in these areas and a basis for prospective greenhouse emissions trading arrangements. Its training programme will increase the availability of skilled post-graduates in Australia and its neighbours.
Contact: CRC Secretariat -- 02 6213 6429