Accelerating the uptake of energy efficiency in industry: a case study of the Australian Energy Efficiency Opportunities program
Paper presented at the 2011 European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy Summer Study
on Energy Efficiency (6-11 June, 2011) Belambra Presqu'île de Giens, France
The Energy Efficiency Opportunities program requires large energy using firms in Australia to conduct energy efficiency assessments every five years and report publicly on their energy efficiency performance annually.
Analysis of public reports from 199 participating corporations demonstrates the significant energy savings that are possible across a wide spectrum of industrial firms. Energy projects identified and publicly reported by companies (up to December 2009) are projected to deliver an average 8.3% reduction of the assessed energy use. Approximately half of the identified projects have been implemented so far and if all identified projects are adopted they will contribute a 2.9% reduction in Australia’s total energy end use.
In this paper we analyse the key features of the EEO program and consider how they are intended to influence barriers to the uptake of energy efficiency in firms. To conduct our analysis we draw on economic, organisational and institutional theory to develop an analytical model. This categorises barriers according to the level at which they are most likely to occur, i.e. at the level of an individual decision maker or a project, more widely across the organisation or within the network of institutional stakeholders.
We then consider the results of a recent review of the EEO program by external consultants, which indicates that barriers to the identification and implementation of energy efficiency have been reduced since the start of the EEO program in July 2006. However, a number of persistent barriers are also identified. These include a lack of energy data, limited access to capital and the challenge of gaining management support and sufficient resources to exploit the full benefits of energy efficiency improvement. We briefly consider how education and training measures and the introduction of a carbon price may act as mutually reinforcing policies to achieve the shared goal of energy efficiency improvement in industry.