Luke Menzel with Leslie Williams

The Energy Efficiency Council last night handed out industry awards at a gala dinner that was part of its national conference in Sydney.

Among the winners were Energy Action’s Dr Paul Bannister, who won the Energy Efficiency Leader 2014, a recognition of his lifetime of work, that includes designing the system that drives the NABERS energy rating system. Graham Bryant of Simplot was highly commended.

Bannister, a frequent commentator on The Fifth Estate is a highly regarded expert, judging by the esteem expressed by his peers. He has also been an outspoken critic of poor government policy on energy efficiency and a perceptive commentator on industry practice.

In a recent interview with this publication Bannister said the barriers to greater take up of energy efficiency was rarely money; it was motivation and there were really only two great motivators – one was market forces and the other regulation.

Bannister also said in the same article that in relation to the damage to renewable energy from federal government policy uncertainty that, “The only light on the horizon is that the NSW government has gone out of its way to thumb its nose at the Feds and set its own environmental targets and requirements.”

It’s a comment that now serves to introduce the second big winner at the EEC conference: the NSW Government, which won the Best Energy Savings Program 2014for its Energy Savings Scheme, designed to help homes and businesses save money on their electricity bill.

The award was accepted on behalf of the government by MP, NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy Leslie Williams.

NSW Environment Minister Rob Stokes, who previously held Ms Williams’ role, on Tuesday announced the scheme would be expanded.

Following is a list of other winners.

Leading Energy User 2014

  • Winner – Orora Ltd
  • Highly commended – Simplot Australia

Best Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Project 2014

  • Winner – Australian Technology Park and Building IQ

Best Industrial Energy Efficiency Project 2014

  • Winner – Primo Smallgoods and Ecosave
  • Highly commended – Parmalat and Outperformers

Best Cogeneration or District Energy Project 2014

  • Winner – Total Construction and Frasers Property Group

Best SME Energy Efficiency Project 2014

  • Winner – Kilsyth Basketball Centre and AGL Energy Services

Best Demand Response Project 2014

  • Winner – ERM Business Energy and EnerNOC

Acting chief executive of EEC Luke Menzel said that making the most of energy efficiency opportunities was “critical for Australia’s economy”.