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$72 million pilot programme assesses Australia's future energy needs

10 September 2014

The Australian Government is continuing to work with the energy industry and electricity consumers to reduce electricity bills and continue energy market reform, with the launch of an innovative pilot programme plotting the energy habits of 26,500 people across the nation.

Bob Baldwin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, said the federal government had contributed $55 million of the $72 million program to fund 20 projects concluding in mid-2016.

Mr Baldwin launched the latest project, Energy Efficiency in the 3rd Age (EE3A), from the Illawarra region in NSW today. He said the aims of (EE3A) were to identify better ways to improve the energy efficiency of low income households and enable them to better manage their usage without impacting on their quality of life.

“By repealing the carbon tax earlier this year, this government has reduced homeowners’ power bills and relieved some of the other cost of living pressures many Australians are experiencing,” Mr Baldwin said.

“This programme is our next step to ensure we gather the information we need to create better informed energy policy. This government is committed to providing cheaper and more reliable electricity to all Australians.”

Eddy De Gabriele, Chair of Regional Development Australia Illawarra (RDAI) said the $2.3 million EE3A project would gather data from up to 800 Illawarra households over the next 18 months.

“This is one of the largest research and education undertakings of its kind and it is testament to the skills and expertise we have here in the Region,” Mr De Gabriele said. “The EE3A brings together our internationally renowned university, our most experienced and long-time operators in the aged sector, suppliers and those at the coal face who understand first-hand the issues and challenges facing low income older Australians when it comes improving energy efficiency.”

The EE3A project has recruited 800 households to participate in various trials run by the University of Wollongong.. The participating households are from the local government areas of Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama, Shoalhaven and Wingecarribee. It will include an awareness raising programme, engagement with local manufacturers and suppliers to trial new green approaches and a large research component to intensively monitor the impacts of the energy efficiency technologies and behaviour changes of the project, conducted by the University of Wollongong.

The EE3A consortium of RDA Illawarra, the University of Wollongong, IRT Group, Warrigal, Illawarra Forum, WEA Illawarra, Southern Councils Group and the Royal Freemason's Benevolent Institution (RFBI) brings together some of the most experienced organisations in the areas of data collection, research, aged care and education.

Media contact: Mr Baldwin's office 02 6277 4200







Brisbane City Council

This project aims to address capital constraints and information failure as barriers that prevent retirees and the elderly located in Brisbane in Queensland from improving their energy efficiency.



Brotherhood of St Laurence

The project’s approach is to facilitate high cost, high impact energy efficiency upgrades, in particular, more efficient hot water systems, with households in the NSW Goulburn Valley and North Melbourne in Victoria



Environment Victoria

The project’s approach is to harness the pro-environmental attitudes common to first-time parents in Melbourne’s North and Western Suburbs in Victoria, who are motivated to safeguard the environment for their children, and focus this motivation on taking action to reduce their energy use, climate impacts and household bills.



GV Community Energy

The project’s approach is to deliver immediate and ongoing savings in energy use and costs through individual and community-led engagement to households, caravan parks and retirement villages in Central Victoria.



Indigenous Essential Services 

The project’s approach is to adopt an iterative community engagement model for East Arnhem Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory to trial and evaluate two-way energy education and engagement, a retrofit roll-out and installation of interactive in-home displays.



Kidonan UnitingCare

The project’s approach is to trial a range of strategies with Indigenous consumers in Victoria to manage energy use and costs including tailored educational tools, information sessions, community consultation, energy assessments and retrofits.



Mission Australia Housing

The project’s approach is to compare capacity building to engage, educate and empower households in Tasmania with more conventional energy efficiency interventions such as in-home education and upgrades.



Nature Conservation Council of NSW

The project’s approach is one of engagement, education, advice, support and communication through peer-to-peer support networks and community champions with households in Sydney and the NSW Hunter and Illawarra regions.



Queensland Council of Social Service

The project’s approach is to support refugees living in private rental housing in the Brisbane, Toowoomba, Rockhampton and Biloela areas in Queensland to make decisions that minimise their energy use as they set up households in Australia, while increasing understanding of energy use within refugee communities and how to best deliver energy efficiency information to this group.



South East Councils Climate Change Alliance

The project’s approach is to deliver a tailored retrofit and behaviour change program to renters and retirees across eight south-east Melbourne local council areas through the established and trusted local council Home and Community Care network.



BEST Employment

The project’s approach is to trial the effectiveness of education combined with long-term mentoring in the NSW Inverell, Gwydir and Glen Innes Severn council areas to reduce energy consumption, and activities include setting energy targets and aligning the achievement of those targets to an incentive program.




Brisbane Green Heart CitySmart

The project’s approach is to trial how personalised e-learning, digital communications, social media and incentives with adult renters in Brisbane in Queensland can drive change in energy use behaviour, attitudes and actions



City of Gosnells

The project’s approach is to trial the use of voltage optimisation and real time energy use feedback to change behaviour and reduce the overall energy consumption and cost with households in Perth’s south-eastern suburbs .



Environment Centre Northern Territory

The project’s approach is to trial a community engagement model that will focus on a range of interventions including modifications to buildings, replacing appliances and behaviour change activities with seniors, indigenous people, refugees and carers in Darwin, resulting in satisfactory thermal comfort levels and a reduction in energy consumption.



Northern Grampians Shire Council

The project’s approach is to use existing community welfare networks to facilitate energy assessments and identify possible energy efficiency measures, as well as implementing education strategies to sustain behaviour change with residents in regional Victoria.



Regional Development Australia Illawarra

The project will trial an interdisciplinary approach to assess energy use, identify the most effective retrofitting activities and deliver a targeted behaviour change and education program with households In the NSW Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Wingecarribee local government areas.




The project’s approach is to trial the use of a social media game, designed around Interactive Decision Theory, as well as financial incentives to motivate participants to achieve greater energy efficiency with households in Western NSW.



Sustainable Business Australia

The project will trial the delivery to participants of educational energy efficiency information and real-time energy use and associated costs via an online portal as well as smart phone and tablet applications with households across various states and territories



Uniting Communities

(UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide)

The project’s approach is to focus on the summer performance of dwellings and the coping strategies, and to engage on energy efficiency measures such as insulation, air-conditioner use and behaviour change with renters in Adelaide.



Western District Health Service

The project will trial a participatory training approach with seniors in Glenelg South Australia to increase the knowledge, interest and motivation of Home and Community Care staff, who will undertake home energy assessments and provide advice via their existing trusted relationship with clients.