Victoria puts energy efficiency front and centre

Energy efficiency will be central to the Victorian economy, a new state government energy statement has revealed.

The Energy Efficiency and Productivity Statement launched at the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia’s Energy Future event in Melbourne last week puts improving the energy efficiency of residential and commercial buildings as one of the government’s top priorities, alongside helping businesses and vulnerable energy consumers, transforming energy markets, and focusing on government leadership and creating Victorian energy efficiency jobs.

“Our vision for a low-emissions economy is about saving energy, growing jobs and protecting our environment,” Victorian energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio said. “We’re determined to get Victoria back on track to becoming an international leader in energy efficiency.”

Ms D’Ambrosio said the statement was part of a plan to lead the nation on climate change, and to take advantage of the huge growth potential in “new energy industry jobs”.

“By taking action to reduce the energy needs of homes, businesses and government buildings, we can improve living affordability, grow economic productivity and reduce the impact on the environment,” she said.

According to the paper, making a Victorian home energy efficient could cut bills by 40 per cent. To help improve energy efficiency, the government committed to strengthening its Victorian Energy Efficiency Target this year.

It will also create a “Residential Efficiency Scorecard” that will help householders compare and assess homes, and help Victorians understand how to save on their energy bills. It will also provide information on how a home will perform under a heatwave. Homeowners will be able to use the tool to demonstrate their home’s efficiency when selling or leasing.

The government, however, shied away from increasing minimum standards, instead flagging potential voluntary or mandatory disclosure rules.

“We will examine ways to strengthen the effectiveness of regulations that apply to existing and new buildings, including tenanted properties,” the statement said. “This will include considering a voluntary program or new requirements for energy disclosure at point of sale or lease.”

The statement was welcomed by the Energy Efficiency Council.

“The Energy Efficiency Council commends the Andrews Government for its strong commitment to embed energy efficiency at the heart of the Victorian economy,” EEC chief executive Luke Menzel said. “With this statement Minister D’Ambrosio has set out a roadmap for the development of a comprehensive energy efficiency plan that will reduce energy bills for Victorian households and businesses. We applaud her leadership in making energy efficiency a central pillar of Victoria’s broader energy policy.”

The government will hold an energy efficiency and productivity summit in August to further develop its strategy.

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