The Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP), comprising the Australian partners of the Australia-US Institute for Advanced Photovoltaics, is developing the next generations of photovoltaic technology, providing a pipeline of opportunities for performance increase and cost reduction. Supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
A range of industry and government programs are available to support businesses to understand their energy use and implement energy-efficient practices, systems and technologies.
The $3.2 billion Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is an independent Commonwealth authority, supporting innovations that improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia. ARENA invests in research, development, demonstration, deployment and commercialisation of renewable energy and related technologies; and the storage and sharing of knowledge and information about renewable energy technologies.
CitySwitch is a sustainability program supporting office-based businesses to significantly improve day-to-day energy and waste efficiency. The program provides network members with one-to-one support from an experienced program manager. It also includes free online resources, practical toolkits and regular education and networking events. Discounts on NABERS tenancy energy ratings are also available to members.
Play the CitySwitch Green ICT Challenge.
Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) is a national program designed to improve the energy efficiency of Australia’s large office buildings. Most sellers or lessors of office space of 2000 square metres or more are required to obtain and disclose a current Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) under the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010.
From 1 July 2017, the mandatory disclosure threshold on commercial office buildings will be lowered from 2000 to 1000 square metres.
The Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) program is a cross-jurisdictional collaboration through which the Australian, state/territory and New Zealand governments collaborate to deliver a single, integrated program on energy efficiency standards and energy labelling for equipment and appliances.
The Energy Efficiency in Government Operations (EEGO) policy aims to reduce the energy consumption of Australian Government operations with particular emphasis on energy efficiency in buildings.
Energy Efficiency Opportunities (now closed)
The Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) program was established in July 2006 with the implementation of the Energy Efficiency Opportunities Act 2006. The object of the Act was to improve the identification, evaluation and implementation of energy efficiency opportunities by large energy-using corporations.
The government decided to close the EEO program, with effect from 29 June 2014.
The Entrepreneurs’ Programme uses experienced advisers and facilitators, drawn from industry, to ensure businesses get the advice and support needed to improve their competiveness, productivity and to seek growth opportunities.
Practical support for businesses, researchers and entrepreneurs includes:
- advice from people with relevant private sector experience
- co-funded grants to commercialise novel intellectual property in the form of new products
- processes and services, funding to take advantage of growth opportunities
- connection and collaboration opportunities.
NABERS is a national program managed by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. NABERS is a performance-based rating system for buildings and uses a star system to rate a building on the basis of its measured operational impacts on the environment. The NABERS system now extends to 6 stars and is a simple indication of how well a commercial building manages the environmental impact of the resources used, compared with similar buildings.
The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme, established by the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 (NGER Act), is a single national framework for reporting and disseminating company information about greenhouse gas emissions, energy production, energy consumption and other information specified under NGER legislation.
The Research & Development (R&D) Tax Incentive is a targeted, generous and easy to access entitlement program that helps businesses offset some of the costs of doing R&D. The program aims to help more businesses do R&D and innovate. It is a broad-based entitlement program. This means that it is open to firms of all sizes in all sectors who are conducting eligible R&D.
The Sustainable Cities Investment Program will seek to invest $1 billion over 10 years in clean energy and energy efficient technology solutions in cities and the built environment. The finance will be for investments in renewable energy and low emissions technologies, as well as energy efficiency, in cities and the built environment.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) can consider a range of projects for financing through the Sustainable Cities Investment Program:
Transport and infrastructure
Universities and local government
Australian Capital Territory
Rebates of up to $5,000 are available to eligible ACT businesses wanting to upgrade to more water-efficient and energy-efficient technologies, including with lighting, heating or cooling, refrigeration, toilets and/or tapware.Through the rebates, the Business Energy and Water Program helps commercial businesses lower operating costs by reducing water and energy.
The Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme (EEIS) is a compulsory scheme for electricity retailers supplying to the ACT. It works by placing a requirement on electricity retailers to achieve energy savings in households and small-to-medium businesses. A Priority Household Target ensures that a proportion of the savings are delivered in low income households.
New South Wales
The Energy Saver program helps NSW businesses to unlock productivity gains, reduce emissions and drive competitive advantage. The program is designed to target, prioritise and implement the best energy-efficiency opportunities for eligible companies.
- identify savings opportunities with an energy specialist
- deliver projects from business case to quote, evaluation and engineering design
- access funding for projects via the Energy Savings Scheme
- upskill staff through practical, interactive training courses.
The Energy Savings Scheme reduces electricity consumption in NSW by creating financial incentives for organisations to invest in energy savings projects. When businesses invest in reducing their energy use, an Accredited Certificate Provider creates energy savings certificates for each MWh of energy the project saves. Electricity retailers, who are mandatory scheme participants, then buy the energy savings certificates.
The financing of sustainability improvements to many existing buildings in NSW has been made easier with Environmental Upgrade Agreements (EUAs). Under the agreement, owners of non-strata commercial and light industrial buildings can access funds from a finance provider for energy, water and other environmental improvements.
The Sustainability Advantage program is assisting organisations across NSW to achieve increased competitiveness and improved bottom lines through better environmental practices.
The ecoBiz program supports Queensland companies to measure current energy, water and waste use, identify opportunities, and plan and implement efficient business practices.
Watt Savers aims to assist small to medium enterprise and community organisations in southeast Queensland to save money and greenhouse emissions. The program includes fact sheets, telephone advisory services, workshops and information on accessing finance and funding options.
Support for South Australian business and industry:
- Information, direction and tools to help all types of organisations to make more informed investment decisions on business sustainability
- Working with industry associations and business groups to deliver practical advice and solutions across industry sectors and regions
- Understanding the diversity of small-to-medium businesses and partnering with key industry associations to deliver practical advice to a large number of companies to lift overall industry standards.
The South Australian Energy Productivity Program will be available to businesses that use more than 160 MWh of electricity each year to incentivise investment in energy productivity measures.
The program has two components:
- Energy Productivity Audit Grant Program – grants of 75% of the cost of a Level 2 energy audit, up to $15,000, to businesses to engage an external energy auditor to identify energy productivity opportunities.
- Energy Productivity Implementation Grant Program – grants to implement the recommendations of the audits conducted through the Energy Productivity Audit Grant Program or the recommendations of a recently completed energy audit with a preference for projects that provide broader market benefits to South Australia.
The National Energy Efficient Building Project (NEEBP) commenced in 2012 with the aim of supporting consumers, government and industry to achieve better energy efficiency in new buildings, renovations and additions.The NEEBP is led by the Government of South Australia’s Department of State Development and is co-funded by all Australian states and territories through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council.
The Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES) is a South Australian Government initiative that requires energy retailers to help households and businesses save on energy use and costs, and lower their greenhouse gas emissions.
To do this, energy retailers need to meet energy efficiency and audit targets that have been set for them. Retailers with a large number of residential customers are set additional targets that ensure a certain amount of the energy savings activities they do are delivered to low-income households.
The Tasmanian Government has developed an energy strategy to identify ways in which energy can be used as a key economic driver for the state. The strategy has an overarching vision of restoring Tasmania’s energy advantage.
Through the 1200 Buildings program, the City of Melbourne is seeking to catalyse the environmental retrofit of 1200 non-residential buildings, which represent 70% of the commercial building stock within the municipality.
The program is managed through a strategic partnership between the City of Melbourne and the Sustainable Melbourne Fund (SMF) which offers environmental upgrade agreements to eligible building owners.
Boosting Business Productivity is a $3.6 million Victorian Government grants initiative comprised of four separate programs.
The initiative will equip 1000 small and medium size enterprises with energy-efficiency skills and connect them to expert advice to help them cut energy and materials costs, reduce greenhouse emissions and unlock even more co-benefits.
Energy Assessment Grants
Grants of up to $9,000 are available for SMEs spending over $20,000 a year on energy, to commission an energy assessment which will identify and implement energy improvements.
Materials Efficiency Grants
Grants of up to $13,000 are available to SME manufacturers looking to find solutions to their waste problems, which will result in more efficient use of materials and less waste sent to landfill.
Energy Efficiency Knowledge and Skills
The Energy Efficiency Capability grants will support a number of industry associations, business networks and registered training organisations (RTOs) to develop energy efficiency knowledge and skills (capabilities) in SMEs and service providers.
(Note: Applications for Energy Efficiency Knowledge and Skills have now closed. More information will be available soon about how SMEs and service providers can participate in the funded projects.)
Sustainable Finance Service
A free finance facilitation service available to all businesses, property owners, councils and community groups seeking to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The VEET scheme is designed to make energy-efficiency improvements more affordable, contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases, and encourage investment, employment and innovation in industries that supply energy-efficient goods and services.
Under the scheme, accredited businesses can offer discounts and special offers on selected energy saving products and appliances installed at homes, businesses or other non-residential premises. The bigger the greenhouse gas reduction, the bigger the potential saving.
CleanRun is a Western Australian Government program aimed at improving air quality by reducing vehicle emissions. It is focused on heavy vehicles and fleets and includes an EcoDrive program for transport companies to train their drivers to use safer, smarter techniques to maximise fuel economy.
In Western Australia, government-owned retailers must offer eligible customers a buyback scheme. This ensures residents, schools and non-profit organisations with renewable energy systems can sell their excess energy to retailers. According to requirements, the retailers establish their own terms and conditions (including rates) for buying excess energy and are responsible for running the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme.