Rob Stokes

22 July 2014 — New South Wales Environment Minister Rob Stokes has said the state could be Australia’s answer to California as he launched a new resource efficiency policy that will see government agencies pursuing solar leasing, energy efficiency projects including lighting upgrades, minimum 4.5 star NABERS ratings and environmental upgrade agreements.

Speaking at the Clean Energy Week Policy and Finance Conference, Dr Stokes told the audience, “When it comes to clean energy, we can be Australia’s answer to California.

“We’re on the cusp of a truly exciting time for energy and the environment, with NSW positioned to take a very strong lead. We have the technology, the skills and, through my government, the policy intent.

“There is a great opportunity for NSW to work with the Abbott Government to make NSW and Australia the place to do clean energy business. We’ve got unique resources and unique opportunities. It’s now our job to convince business and communities to take these up.”

Major resource efficiency drive to see high NABERS buildings

Dr Stokes also used his address to announce the NSW Government Resource Efficiency Policy.

All owned and leased office buildings over 2000 square metres will need to achieve and maintain at least a 4.5 stars NABERS Energy rating by June 2017. All data centres will achieve a minimum infrastructure and IT equipment NABERS Energy rating of 4.5 stars in the same timeframe.

Government Property NSW will assist agencies by:

All new office buildings and fitouts will be designed and built to a predicted performance of at least 4.5 stars NABERS Energy rating. For other building types, new facilities with project costs over $10 million will be designed and built so energy consumption is at least 10 per cent lower than if built to minimum compliance with National Construction Code requirements.

The directive also includes agencies identifying and enabling solar leasing opportunities, which fits in with today’s (Tuesday’s) announcement by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation of a massive expansion in this area.

Dr Stokes said around a third of the government’s energy could be sourced from solar.

Other measures include:

  • targets to undertake energy efficiency projects – all clusters will undertake energy efficiency projects at sites representing 90 per cent of their billed energy use by the end of 2023–24, with an interim target of 55 per cent for Health and 40 per cent for other clusters by the end of 2017–18
  • minimum standards for new electrical appliances and equipment – all new electrical equipment purchased by government must be at least the market average star rating
  • minimum fuel efficiency standards for new light vehicles –  at least the market average fuel efficiency by vehicle category by July 2017
  • purchasing six per cent GreenPower
  • reporting on water use
  • minimum water standards for office buildings – all new and refurbished owned office buildings and leased office buildings with a net lettable area of over 2000 m2 will achieve a whole building NABERS Water rating of 4 stars where cost-effective
  • minimum standards for new water-using appliances – all new water-using appliances, shower heads, taps and toilets purchased by agencies must be at least the average WELS star rating by product type
  • report on top three waste streams by total volume and by total cost
  • air emission standards for mobile non-road diesel plant and equipment – contractor-supplied and government-purchased equipment will comply with EU or US EPA standards
  • low-VOC surface coatings – all surface coatings will comply with the Australian Paint Approval Scheme where fit for purpose

Compliance with the policy is mandatory for all general government-sector agencies.

“With this policy, the NSW Government is setting an example in addressing the challenge of rising resource costs, and reducing impacts on our economy, environment and community,” Dr Stokes said.

Support for RET

Dr Stokes also reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the Renewable Energy Target as it stood.

“We certainly support the 41,000 gigawatt-hour target. We think 41,000 gigawatt-hours is where we should go, but that is only the beginning,” he said.

6 replies on “NSW wants to be the “California of Australia” on energy and environment”

  1. NABERS ratings now go up to 6 stars.
    4.5 is around middle of the range, and a well managed building should meet this with proper management and commissioning, along with the lost-cost abatement opportunities like lighting retrofits.
    I don’t think that this is a very high target. The more I read this policy the more I feel it lacks teeth.
    “Agencies will source information on their top three waste streams… where reliable information is available.”
    So if the information isn’t available… they don’t have to report it? too hard basket?

  2. The policy states that “The annual health cost of air pollution in the Sydney greater metropolitan region has been estimated at 4.7 billion…” and that “there are major health and economic gains to be made from their reduction.”

    So, in their clean air section of the Policy – they focus only on “mobile non-road diesel plant and equipment.” which is… excavators, road machines, agriculture trucks and the like.

    How about reducing road traffic? Reducing single occupant vehicles driving to the city everyday perhaps? Promoting public transport and cycling for utilitarian purposes?

    The policy talks about clean air but whole-heartedly misses the biggest culprit. Australia’s obsession with cars, cars, cars.

    Your own transport department could make a big dent in the emissions with sustainable transport focus, but roads and cars are more important. Let’s license cyclists instead, they say.

  3. What live on a fault line covered with smog and hide all your derelict wind farms over the hill, out of sight. or be the 6 largest economy in the world. Or create a city of so many imbalances that Google owns it and with out paying tax. I guess they leave that to there employees.
    Exactly what do you mean?

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