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NSW has launched a new peak demand reduction scheme (PDRS), with the aim of cutting peak demand for electricity by 10 per cent by 2030.

Under the legislative framework, new financial incentives will be available for households and businesses that invest in appliances and methods to use less energy during peak times, with the yet to be detailed incentives due to kick in in the second half of 2022. 

The state government will also invest $25 million towards developing new technologies and software that reduces energy consumption during these times. 

“By reducing peak demand we can supply power to everyone who needs it, when they need it, at a lower cost,” NSW energy minister Matt Kean said.

“If all the backyard pool pumps and filters across NSW were used outside of peak periods, we could save up to 450 MW – that’s more than the capacity of a generating unit at the Liddell Power Station.”

According to Mr Kean, the PDRS is expected to save consumers $1.2 billion on energy bills between 2022 and 2040.

Aiming to go online in time for the peak energy period of summer 2022-23, the PDRS will provide benefits to consumers who either take up energy efficiency opportunities to reduce usage overall during the peak hours of 2:30 pm to 8:30 pm, or shift demand outside of that timeframe. 

The framework of the PDRS is based on the existing Energy Savings Scheme, which requires energy retailers to purchase credits for energy reductions initiatives from businesses that perform installations, with savings passed on to customers. 

President of the Energy Savings Industry Association (ESIA), Rod Woolley called on the government to approve discounts on energy installations and retrofits “as soon as possible” to begin benefitting from potential emissions savings sooner rather than later.

“We need rapid impetus to ensure customers can make more energy efficient choices sooner, because often installations stay in place for decades,” Mr Woolley said. 

He added that the PDRS could be ramped up further if coal-fired generators became less reliable sooner or if “climate change supercharges extreme weather events with higher than predicted stress on the electricity system during peak periods.”

Managing director of energy saving consultancy The Green Guys Group, Ben Henderson, said providing discounts for large manufacturers to implement energy saving measures would have a tangible impact. 

“All companies have got thresholds or internal mandates of what’s acceptable to them and having this additional incentive is certainly going to enable many homes and businesses to engage in those energy efficiency opportunities,” he said. 

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