Report reveals big savings in small energy

Thursday, 05 January, 2012

Smarter use of local energy resources can cut both power bills and carbon emissions, according to a new report from the University of Technology, Sydney. 

The research undertaken by the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures has found that “decentralised energy” could shave more than $2.8 billion per annum from electricity bills by 2020 while reducing carbon emissions and providing reliable power.

It finds decentralised energy technologies, including efficient use of energy, peak load management and distributed generation, can make better use of local resources and reduce the need for expensive centralised power stations, power lines and substations that are driving up bills.

The research is outlined in a new report called Think Small: The Australian Decentralised Energy Roadmap, which is being launched at UTS today from 8.45 am by the Federal Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson.

The research found that the lowest-cost deployment of decentralised energy could achieve more than $2.8 billion per annum in savings by 2020 and cut 4.5% of electricity sector carbon emissions compared to “business as usual”. Alternatively, even larger-scale application of decentralised energy could cut carbon emissions by 17% without increasing average energy bills.

The Roadmap is a key product of the Intelligent Grid (iGrid) Research Program, a major three-year research collaboration supported by the CSIRO and five Australian universities, led by UTS.

The Director of the iGrid Research Program and ISF Director, Professor Stuart White, said that decentralised energy should play the leading role both in creating a clean energy future and in ensuring that energy bills remain affordable for all Australians.

“Australia is going to face difficult energy choices in the future, so it is vital that we make the easier and smarter choices now. This means making the most of decentralised energy that cuts carbon energy options and cuts bills at the same time,” Professor White said.

The research identifies seven types of regulatory and other barriers to the adoption of decentralised energy and recommends a range of 20 policy tools to overcome these barriers.

These key policies include:

  • Setting clear annual targets for energy savings, slowing peak demand and reducing customer energy bills;
  • Allowing our energy supply companies to benefit from helping consumers to save energy.

The roadmap has been shaped from input from energy stakeholders during six stakeholder consultations that have been held across the country.

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