Companies that account for half of Australia’s total energy consumption are implementing projects that will save 4.8 per cent of their energy use, according to a series of reports released by Climateworks Australia today.

Climateworks Australia Head of Research, Amandine Denis, said the report found the energy savings represented nearly a quarter of the total residential use in Australia and were worth $1.2 billion a year. 
“The research investigated the energy efficiency opportunities available in 587 medium to large companies from the mining, manufacturing and transport sectors,” she said.   
“We used real company data from energy assessments reported through state and federal programs and looked at the energy saving opportunities, associated costs and benefits and an analysis of the factors that explain why some opportunities are not being taken up.  It is the first time that such comprehensive datasets have been brought together. 
“The report shows that companies have already implemented projects that are significantly reducing their energy use and saving them money.   
“Our research also identified that the energy savings could be more than doubled through projects that have been identified but not implemented, achieving up to 11 per cent of energy savings in the three major industrial sectors of mining, manufacturing and transport. 
“These energy savings, if all implemented, could reduce company energy costs by $3.2 billion a year and cut emissions by 15 million tonnes a year.” 
Ms Denis said the total energy savings identified by these projects amount to 225 petajoules in 2010-­11, which is equivalent to around half the total residential energy use in Australia. 
Ms Denis said the report included detailed information on 28 sub-­sectors and how they could reduce their energy use.  
“The report shows the potential for energy savings varies substantially across sub-­sectors from 3 per cent up to 21 per cent,” she said. 
“Some sub-­‐sectors which have high energy saving potential are the food and beverage sector (16.7 per cent), oil and gas extraction (15.3 per cent) and other mineral products (15.2 per cent).  Most of the manufacturing sub-­sectors identified potential greater than 10 per cent.” 
“Our analysis shows that corporations are planning to implement about 40 per cent of the energy savings opportunities identified,” she said. 
“These energy savings are achieved primarily through operational improvements, such as implementation of process controls and measurement, improved process design and changes to staff behaviour and maintenance practices, as well as equipment upgrades. 

“The large majority of these opportunities to reduce energy have a payback period for business of less than two years.”

Ms Denis said a series of detailed factsheets, grouped in five reports – mining, metals, chemicals, transport and other manufacturing services – have been published to present the preliminary results of the Industrial Energy Efficiency Data Analysis (IEEDA) project on the size and value of energy 
savings that have been identified, as well as the factors that might be inhibiting uptake of energy efficiency opportunities.

“The fact sheets aim to both provide information on possible opportunities to improve energy efficiency, and to facilitate discussion on the areas of this analysis which would benefit from further refinement,” she said.

Ms Denis said the report identified a number of factors inhibiting companies from taking up all the energy saving opportunities.

“Our research shows specific factors inhibiting action on energy efficiency include capital constraints, impact of payback period on company finances, cost of disrupting operational processes, information and skills gaps and decision processes involving large equipment upgrades,” she said.

*This research was commissioned by the Australian government, with the specific intention to  provide detailed information to industry on the energy efficiency opportunities available to them, what has or hasn’t been taken up to date and why.