Designing a tailored government program to encourage energy efficiency in industry - an Australian case study
Pip Marks Marks, Pip Marks Consulting, Australia
Australia’s Energy Efficiency Best Practice Program (EEBP) began its life in 1998 as a five-year benchmarking and information program included in the Prime Minister’s 1997 Safeguarding the future: Australia’s response to climate change package. It later reinvented itself as an ‘innovation and capacity building’ program that promised to deliver ‘big step’ improvements in energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission reductions for industry.

The new approach successfully identified significant energy savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions of between 20 and 50 percent in some processes in the beverage, wine-making, bread-baking, dairy processing and other sectors (EEBP, 2002b). These results were derived primarily from combinations of optimisation activities, such as adjusting process temperatures, load shifting and use of variable speed drives, rather than innovation.

The program also provided many other benefits with direct and significant impacts on participating companies’ core business and bottom lines, such as enhancing quality, speeding up production time, and avoiding or deferring capital investment. It also:

· Radically altered companies’ attitudes towards energy in terms of core business; · Built companies’ capacity to innovate and manage change in the future; and · Raised expectations of what consultants, suppliers and government programs can deliver.

Although the Program ends in 2003, its innovation and capacity building approach was extremely well received by industry and could be widely adopted by a wide range of sustainability and innovation programs.

The paper explores how the program delivered on its promises to industry and proposes three key elements of success that set this Program apart from many others. The focus is on the Australian wine sector, but also draws upon examples from other relevant industry sectors.

A range of excellent information tools, case studies and publications, such as Energy Efficiency Innovation in Australian Wineries, is available free of charge on the Program’s website: www.industry.gov.au/energybestpractice.

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