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The South Australian Government is making a $60 million two-year investment into improved energy efficiency in government buildings to create jobs and reduce electricity costs for the state.

South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said, “The $60 million commitment is the largest per capita stimulus investment of any Australian Government in improving the energy efficiency of public buildings.

“Simple measures like better insulation, shading, new lighting and more efficient air-conditioning can bring older public buildings that get too hot in summer and too cold in winter in line with modern energy efficiency standards.

“We want to build what matters – getting people working now, whilst saving taxpayers money, cutting our carbon emissions and reducing peak demand.

“This program could sustain around 310-430 green jobs for tradies, allowing us to upgrade lighting, insulation, air-conditioning, and add sensors and energy management software.

“The measures will reduce peak demand on the grid, make State Government buildings more comfortable and healthier places to be, whilst saving taxpayers an estimated minimum of $7 million each year once upgrades have been fully implemented.

“Cheaper electricity costs for taxpayers mirror the fall in electricity prices for households and businesses.

“Households have already saved on average $158 per year over the last two years.

“More energy efficient public buildings will complement the Marshall Government’s new supply contract which is building the Cultana Solar Farm and Playford Utility Battery at Port Augusta to deliver even bigger savings to the taxpayer’s power bill and a bigger reduction in carbon pollution.

“The $60 million super-sizing of public building retrofits is the latest investment by the Marshall Government in the delivery of lower emissions and cheaper power.

“The Marshall Government is driving an ambitious transition to net-100 per cent renewable energy with an aspiration to reduce emissions by more than 50 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

“The SA-NSW Interconnector, Home Battery Scheme, Grid Scale Storage Fund, Government Supply Contract, demand management and now the building refurbishment program are all part of the Marshall Government’s plans to reduce emissions whilst also reducing electricity bills.

“The Marshall Government’s performance is proving that it is possible to both reduce the price of electricity, secure our grid, and reduce our impact upon the environment whilst creating jobs.”

The Property Council of Australia, Climate Council, Conservation Council of South Australia, Energy Efficiency Council, Green Building Council of Australia and Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council welcomed the South Australian Government announcement. 

Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, called energy efficiency a “job-creation machine” and highlighted its critical role in reducing emissions.

The organisations commended the State Government for showing real leadership on the economy and the climate, and called on other governments to follow the South Australian Government’s example.

Daniel Gannon, South Australia Executive Director of the Property Council, said, “This is textbook public policy that delivers a win-win for industry and the environment – energy efficiency is jobs intensive and taps into local workforce and supply chains to deliver stimulus while also reducing emissions.”

Andrew Stock, Climate Councillor and energy expert, said, “The Climate Council applauds this major investment in energy efficiency, which demonstrates how smart energy solutions cut costs, create jobs, lower greenhouse gas emissions and improve workplace comfort.”

Craig Wilkins, Chief Executive of the Conservation Council of South Australia, “While there is much more to be done, this exciting energy efficiency announcement alongside action on electric vehicles and purchasing renewable energy for the Government’s own activities is a great sign the Marshall Government is ramping up SA’s clean energy transition.”

Luke Menzel, CEO of the Energy Efficiency Council, said, “This policy will create hundreds of jobs for tradies and engineers. This is a win for the economy, a win for the environment and a win for South Australians.”

Davina Rooney, CEO, Green Building Council of Australia, said, “The South Australian Government has delivered a decisive win for both the economy and the environment today. 

“Energy efficiency is the cheapest form of emissions reduction, it increases the health and wellbeing of occupants and creates jobs. 

“We commend Premier Marshall and his team for this initiative that demonstrates government leadership in their assets.” 

Suzanne Toumbourou, Executive Director, Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC), said, “ASBEC congratulates the South Australian Government on their national leadership. 

“Governments own or lease roughly 30 per cent of Australia’s non-residential buildings, so this kind of policy is essential to reducing our country’s emissions.”

The Home Battery Scheme is also receiving an additional $18 million (to a total of $118 million) to supersize the largest per capita roll-out of home batteries in the world.

“The extra $18 million will result in the HBS reaching 440MWh of storage, a 50 per cent increase on the original target of 280MW,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.

“Reaching that target will result in further downward pressure on household and small business electricity prices.

“We’d originally estimated 280MWh of home batteries, but with this top up we’re now aiming at 440MWh – an increase of more than 50 per cent.”

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