Energy efficiency is Australia's biggest employer, according to a new report by the Energy Efficiency Council, Energy Savings Industry Association and Green Energy Markets.
The report said the energy efficiency sector employs 25 per cent more people than the coal mining industry.
About 500,000 electricians, architects and engineers spend some of their time working on energy efficiency, which adds up to 59,000 full-time jobs in the sector, the report said.
Green Energy Markets director (advisory), Tristan Edis, said energy efficiency is an obvious job creator compared to other energy related sectors because Australia has millions of buildings and pieces of energy consuming equipment.
“As Australia searches for solutions to drive a just transition away from polluting, expensive and unreliable energy sources, accelerating energy efficiency improvements is a smart and economical way to get the job done,” Edis said.
The report also found that improving the energy efficiency of Australian homes and businesses would slash $7.7 billion a year off energy bills and create the equivalent of 120,000 full time jobs.
The report – Energy Efficiency Employment in Australia – also found that better energy efficiency would cut household gas use by 640 million gigajoules over a decade; the equivalent of a huge gas field.
“Energy efficiency is a huge opportunity – we can cut households’ and businesses’ energy bills by $7.7 billion a year,” according to Rob Murray-Leach, EEC's head of policy.
“Improving energy efficiency will also create thousands of jobs across the economy, making Australia cleaner, fairer and more affordable.”
Rod Woolley, president, Energy Savings Industry Association, said, energy efficiency schemes at the state level have been effective in helping homes and businesses cut energy bills and driving investment and innovation in clean technology.
“These schemes must be scaled up and implemented nationwide to maximise their benefits for homes, business, and industry; failure to do so is leaving money on the table.”
In the lead-up to the March 23 NSW election, both the State Government and Opposition made clean energy announcements over the weekend to show their support for solar and battery storage.
NSW Premier, Gladys Berejklian announced the introduction of the 10 year Empowering Homes program, which will provide no-interest loans to residents for the purchase of solar batteries and solar power storage systems.
The program will be offered to up to 300,000 eligible householders over a period of 10 years if the government remains in power.
Eligible applicants will need to be owner-occupiers and have an annual combined household income of up to $180,000.
NSW Energy Minister, Don Harwin, said the program was designed to bring down the cost of power bills, while allowing more households to access affordable solar technology.
“More than 400,000 households and small businesses in NSW are already benefiting from solar power,” he sid.
The NSW Opposition has also made solar-related announcements, sharing plans to slash the power bills of 500,000 families by providing assistance with the installation of solar.
If elected the Opposition will offer up to $2200 for these families to install solar in their homes, with means testing also set at $180,000 per household.