Energy efficiency policy 2014

2014 was a turbulent year for energy efficiency. From the major policy shifts in Victoria to significant energy efficiency scheme changes in New South Wales and South Australia. We take this opportunity to reflect on the year that has been.

In May, after 11 months of review, the then Victorian government announced the closure of the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) scheme at the end of 2015. However, in November, a change of government brought with it a change of policy, and the incoming Labor government committed to retaining the VEET scheme with a 5.4 million target for 2015. There is a review of the scheme planned for the first half of 2015, with a view to strengthening the scheme. We expect strong targets for 2016 and 2017 with expansion of activities and further harmonising with the New South Wales Energy Saving Scheme (ESS).

The New South Wales government continued to show strong support for energy efficiency through 2014. In May, significant changes to the ESS were announced and implemented between 1 June and 30 September. Major compliance changes to the commercial lighting methodology in particular appear, in the short term at least, to have disrupted certificate creation resulting in lowered the monthly creation levels for the methodology. However, several newly introduced activities are expected to ramp up creation over 2015.

In November, the government announced further expansion of the ESS to include gas and an extension of the scheme to 2025. The scheme will also undergo a statutory review this year, which will include a review of the target. The review is expected to commence in April after the election.

The outcome of the review of the South Australian scheme, at the end of 2013, led to an extension of the scheme beyond 2014 to 2020, and an expansion of the scheme to include small businesses.  New rules and activities, including commercial lighting, came into effect on 1 January 2015.

Our 2014 energy efficiency markets briefing note, which focuses on creation levels, significant activities and price fluctuations, will be released shortly.

We expect we have weathered the storm of energy efficiency policy changes and, thankfully, the outlook for 2015 is much brighter.

Caroline Robertson
Energy Efficiency Manager