The NSW government has bucked the trend again with legislation introduced on Tuesday to expand its Energy Savings Scheme, which will now include incentives to save gas.
It’s hugely welcome in an industry that’s copped an unrelenting hammering from the federal regime, the former Victorian regime and the same lot in Queensland.
On Tuesday afternoon the mood in the industry was upbeat.
“It’s all happening,” said one leading observer. (Not sure the “equal footing” given to roads by the New Improved Feds is exactly reason to cheer. But then again the NIFs have to keep an eye on that row of backbenchers in parliament firing darts into the new incumbents.)
So what do we have?
A new improved Energy Savings Scheme will make it “more affordable to for households and businesses to purchase and install energy efficient products”, the relevant ministers said in a statement.
“Electrical appliances can account for 25 per cent of home energy use, so by using energy efficient products consumers can help push down their household energy bills,” NSW energy minister Anthony Roberts and environment minister Mark Speakman said.
By their estimates the savings will be a whopping $8.2 billion during the life of the scheme, now stretching out to 2025, with the energy savings target to go from five per cent to seven per cent in 2016 and progressively to 8.5 per cent by 2019.
According to Roberts it will add up to more jobs and opportunities for tradies and retailers in an energy efficiency sector with 3000 people.
“The reforms will deliver new jobs and grow the industry. We’re expecting Western Sydney in particular to really benefit as homes, warehouses and workplaces make savings,” he said.
The government supplied these exampled of how the scheme could work:
Hot water systems
For a gas connected household, replacing a continuous electric storage hot water system with a 5 star instant gas hot water system could cost around $1200 more than replacing it with the same electric system.
An accredited plumber could access the ESS and offer a 5 star instant gas hot water system for up to $480 less than the normal price.
In this case, the household could save up to $480 off the purchase and installation price and could save up to $325 a year in running costs.
This means that the bill savings could cover the additional cost in just over two years, and the household could save up to $3900 in energy bill savings over 12 years.
Hiring an electrician to replace ten halogen downlights with LEDs could cost about $310.
An accredited electrician could access the ESS and install 10 LED upgrades for up to $90 less than the normal price.
The household could save up to $90 off the installation cost and could save up to $85 a year in running costs.
This means the bill savings could cover the additional cost in around two and a half years, and the household could save up to $850 in energy bills over 10 years.
High efficiency fridge
A 3.5 star fridge could cost around $100 more than a 2 star fridge.
An accredited appliance retailer could access the scheme to offer 3.5 star fridges for up to $20 less than their normal price.
The household could save up to $20 off the purchase price and could save up to $17 a year in running costs.
This means the bill savings could cover the additional cost in just over four years, and the household could save up to $205 in energy bills over the fridge’s 12 year lifetime.
The Energy Efficiency Council welcomed the news and said the move would lower bills for homes and businesses while creating more jobs in energy efficiency.
EEC chief executive Luke Menzel said the longer life of the program provided certainty to the industry.
“Expanding the scheme will create jobs in NSW and help homes and businesses save energy,” Mr Menzel said.