Energy efficiency hit for communities, but safe in industry

There was mixed news in the budget for energy efficiency programs, with the Low Carbon Communities program losing $47 million while the industry-focussed Clean Technology Investment program remained intact.

In the energy efficiency space, the Low Carbon Communities program had its funding reduced by nearly $47 million in the budget, but funding for the Clean Technology Investment program remains wholly intact despite some shuffling between years.

The table below outlines the new budgetary situation for the programs.

2013-14 budget allocation and difference from prior year’s budget

Graph for Energy efficiency hit for communities, but safe in industry

In terms of Low Carbon Communities, the government has informed Climate Spectator that with the completion of funding allocation under round two, there will be no further funding rounds. This suggests that in reality the funding for Low Carbon Communities will be reduced by a further $32 million relative to what is set-out in the table above. This is because total funding allocated to applicants under round one and round two is $177 million versus the budgeted amount above of $208 million.

The news is better with the Clean Technology Investment program. While there has been a major underspend in 2012-13, the government believes demand for the program going forward is so strong that it has brought forward $165 million to the 2014-15 year.  

This seems to concur with anecdotal evidence from energy efficiency industry participants. Lags in rolling-out energy efficiency upgrades and getting industry familiar with the program have resulted in underspend for the first year of the program, but this should then be overcome by the 2013-14 financial year.

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