Dont Hide From Carbon
Thursday, 07 June 2012 10:02
Thousands of organisations across Australia are missing out on potential financial aid that could help them combat the impact of the carbon tax.
Despite millions of dollars of accessible funding and grant options our recent Energy Insights Survey found that:
- 93 per cent of businesses are unaware, or unsure about Government assistance, including funding or grants available to them
- Nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of organisations believed that they would not receive sufficient compensation from the Government against the carbon cost impact, with a further 19 per cent saying they are unsure if they will.
With the end of financial year in sight, now is the perfect opportunity for Australian organisations to speak with their energy management company and begin opening the lines of discussion on energy efficiency.
Energy management companies, such as Energy Action, can help organisations assess what grants may be available, aid in developing a longer term energy management plan, and ultimately help plan for the coming year regarding your energy efficiency journey. At Energy Action, these services are available under our Activ8+ partnership program
It is surprising to see so many businesses worried about the impact that the carbon tax will have on them, but still remain unaware of what help is available to minimise costs when making investments in energy efficiency. Of the businesses surveyed, 70 per cent said that they had begun investing in energy efficiency and sustainability.
Despite the lack of knowledge, there is a strong appetite for information with 84 per cent being interested in energy efficiency and sustainability measures for their business.
Available Grants and Funding Programs
For many businesses, both small and large, the ‘low hanging fruit’ or starting point to get some ‘runs on the energy efficiency scoreboard’ is with lighting. Upgrading to more energy efficient lighting for NSW businesses has been made more feasible due to the Energy Savings Scheme (ESS). This is because Energy Savings Certificates (ESCs) can be generated by Accredited Certificate Providers (such as Energy Action) providing a financial offset, or incentive to complete the project. A similar incentive is due to be replicated in Victoria, under the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) Scheme. The VEET Scheme operates using ‘Victorian Energy Efficiency Certificates’ (VEECs) that provide a financial incentive similar to the ESCs. The Victorian Government are in the process of approving a range of energy efficient lights (T5 tubes and LEDs) to be eligible for VEECs for commercial business making commercial lighting upgrade payback periods significantly more viable than ever before. For more information about ESCs, VEECs and lighting upgrades, please contact us or send an online enquiry.
The Government have also pledged $800m in grants for the manufacturing industry alone through the Clean Technology Investment Program, a central part of the Clean Energy Future Plan. $200m has been set aside specifically for the Clean Technology and Food and Foundries Investment Program. These grants can significantly reduce the cost of investing in energy efficiency and are now more flexible than ever, with a range of investments that enable efficiency savings permitted (including replacing equipment). Manufacturers and food manufacturers are encouraged to contact Energy Action or send an online enquiry requesting further information, or to discuss their needs.
How do I access these grants?
In order to access these grants organisations must meet several requirements and undertake a feasibility study to describe the potential project and its savings in detail. Energy Action’s Activ8+ program has advised many organisations on feasibility and evaluated potential savings, with a 100 per cent success rate for grant application.
What if there is a change of Government?
It is critical for businesses to understand, once approved, funding is guaranteed, even if the Government or its policies change. Many organisations are opting to delay applications in search of political certainty. Unfortunately, valuable opportunities to improve their energy efficiency today whilst funding is available are simply passing these organisations by. Once these grants and funding are exhausted, these financial opportunities will no longer exist. Businesses need to be aware these opportunities are time critical.
In addition to the introduction of the carbon tax, many businesses fear increasing energy price-rises, with 48 per cent of respondents expecting the impact to be severe on the cost of running their business. As government grants are typically paid in instalments the worry of high initial outgoings combined with rising energy prices, can make organisations reluctant to invest in energy efficiency.
One way to overcome this barrier is to look at financing options. Energy Action has been selected as a foundation member in the Low Carbon Australia “Energy Smart Finance Program” enabling them to help customers access low cost financing to support energy efficiency projects. This can result in positive cash flow for some organisations, where loan repayments are less than the savings made in the same period. For larger projects where this may not be the case, Energy Action may be able to assist businesses fund some of the shortfall. This can mean that there is no longer any capital outlay for those organisations, only operating costs. Contact us to enquire about financing options or our ‘Build-Own-Operate’ programs.
Energy Action works with Low Carbon Australia to help organisations upgrade to the latest energy efficient technologies and manage their cash flow preservation. The journey to energy efficiency often requires a level of sacrifice (i.e. sacrificing funds, physical square metres on site, delays in productivity whilst projects are being implemented, etc). Partnering with an independent energy consultant can help you assess these sacrifices to establish the best path to take for the maximum benefit.
Energy Efficiency: A Growing Trend Amongst Australian Businesses
Energy Action is pleased to see a growing trend in organisations embracing energy efficiency as a process of continuous improvement, rather than one-off projects. The most successful organisations at implementing energy efficiency have made long term energy management plans and work towards the end goal while monitoring the current situation for any benefits that can be found.