The Victorian government has announced new energy efficiency targets to improve the energy efficiency of households and businesses, that are expected to reduce energy use and costs and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
New targets under the Victorian Energy Upgrades program will aim to reduce Victorian energy consumption by as much as seven per cent by 2025, with targets increasing each year between 2022 and 2025.
The list of eligible technologies will also be expanded, allowing for a greater range of appliances and products to participate in the program, which currently covers energy efficient lighting, home sealing, low-flow showerheads and energy monitoring devices.
Victorian energy and climate change minister Lily D’Ambrosio announced the new set of targets on Tuesday, which extend the operation of the energy efficiency scheme out to 2025, and are expected to generate 27.8 million tonnes of avoided emissions over the course of four years.
The government said that it would also update the emissions factors used under the scheme, reflecting the increased penetration of renewable energy in the Victorian electricity grid, which will ultimately increase the amount invested in energy efficiency measures to meet the targets.
In a speech to the Melbourne Press Club on Tuesday, D’Ambrosio said that Victoria had successfully met its 2020 renewable energy target, reaching 25 per cent renewables.
The Victorian government estimates that households achieve average annual savings of at least $120 each year, with businesses expected to save at least $510 each year through reduced energy spending.
By reducing the overall demand for electricity, the Victorian government expects that households and businesses that do not participate in the program will also benefit from lower energy costs, with lower electricity and gas use driving down prices and helping to reduce the need for further investments in new energy infrastructure.
The government estimates that households and businesses that do not participate in the program could still benefit from cumulative savings of $150 and $870 over the next ten years, respectively.
The government said that it had identified the energy efficiency measures as one of the lowest cost ways to cut emissions, and is expected to achieve emissions reductions of 6.7 million tonnes by 2022, increasing to 7.3 million tonnes by 2025.
Victorian energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the expanded energy upgrades program would deliver wins across three fronts, but cutting costs, emissions and creating new job opportunities.
“These ambitious new targets mean that Victorian Energy Upgrades will continue to lead the country in changing the way we use energy in homes, businesses and industries across Victoria,” D’Ambrosio said.
“By investing in the Victorian Energy Upgrades program, we’re empowering households and businesses to save on bills and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, while also creating more jobs – it’s a win for all.”
Friends of the Earth welcomed the energy efficiency targets and expressed hope that this sort of ambition would continue through to the decision on the state’s emissions reduction targets.
“The Andrews government’s expanded energy efficiency upgrades program will create thousands of jobs, deliver cheaper power bills, and slash emissions,” said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth campaigns coordinator.
“This policy shows the government can be bold and ambitious when setting Victoria’s interim Emissions Reduction Targets.”
The energy efficiency measures follow a range of new commitments from the Victorian government funded by the recently published state budget, which included almost $800 million of initiatives to help reduce the energy costs of Victorian households. The budget set aside $14 million to support the expansion of the Victorian Energy Upgrades program, and will introduce new minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties.