Energy Efficient Communities Program – High Energy Using Business Grants

Paving a way to making your business more energy efficient can be challenging. Energy management is complex and energy efficiency objectives differ based on each company’s specific business and sustainability needs.

You need expert advice to understand what solutions will be best for your specific operation. Not all energy solutions are created equal.

Some businesses look for energy roadmaps to deliver their energy efficiency objectives, while some are looking for upgrades to newer and more technologically advanced equipment. Others have already started on their energy efficiency journey but need better energy monitoring tools to be able to evaluate and streamline their energy consumption onsite.

To help you take the next step to a more energy efficient business, the Australian Government has announced the launch of the Energy Efficient Communities Program – High Energy Using Business Grants.  The program is administered by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources and summary below is based on information available on the Government’s website.

What is the grant program designed to do?

The Energy Efficiency Communities Program will run over four years from 2019-20 to 2022-23. The program will assist businesses and community organisations to improve energy efficiency practices and technologies and better manage energy consumption to reduce their power bills.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing energy consumption
  • Improve energy efficiency practices
  • Increase the uptake of energy efficiency technologies

The intended outcomes of the program are to:

  • Reduce energy costs for businesses
  • Emissions abatement
  • Increase awareness amongst high energy using business ownersof how to improve their energy efficiency

For the business stream, the program is designed to save energy through:

  • Equipment upgrades that reduce energy consumption, excluding energy generation equipment such as solar photovoltaic panels
  • Energy and emissions monitoring and management systems to better manage energy use
  • Energy systems audits

How do you know if you’re eligible to apply?

The grant is intended to support high energy using businesses with a net consumption of more than 0.05 PJ energy per year, assessed across all the activities conducted by the business and across all fuel types.

In terms of energy consumption, this equates to 13,889 MWh of electricity or 50,000 GJs of natural gas consumption annually.  The grant is eligible for customers who consumer this amount via one fuel source (e.g. electricity), or as a combination of fuel sources (e.g. gas and electricity).

The project must be aimed at reducing energy consumption for your business and have at least $20,000 in eligible expenditure.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Have an Australian Business Number (ABN)

And be one of the following entities:

  • A company incorporated in Australia
  • An incorporated trustee on behalf of a trust
  • A co-operative.

Additional eligibility requirements and non-eligibility criteria can be found here.

What is the grant money to be used for?

Grant funds are to be used to assist companies to:

  • Replace existing equipment with higher efficiency equipment
  • Install or replace a component/s to help an existing system run more efficiently
  • Carry our energy audits
  • Carry out monitoring of energy use and emissions
  • Investment feasibility studies for energy efficiency upgrades

You can only apply for one grant for your business, but if your business operates across multiple locations you may split the grant across more than one site.

How much grant money has been made available?

The Australian government announced a total of $40 million over four years for the program. For this grant opportunity, $14.8 million is available over two years (2020-21 to 2021-22).

The grant amount will be up to 50% of eligible project expenditure (grant percentage)[i]

  • The minimum grant amount is $10,000
  • The maximum grant amount is $25,000

The funding will be distributed between states and territories as follows:

  • New South Wales – $5.18 million
  • Victoria – $3.996 million
  • Queensland – $2.812 million
  • Western Australia – $1.48 million
  • South Australia – $888,000
  • Tasmania – $296,000
  • Northern Territory – $148,000

When do grant applications close?

Grant applications open:            10 August 2020

Grant application closes:            24 September 2020 at 5pm (AEST)

The project period is a maximum of 18 months from the date you execute a grant agreement with the Commonwealth. All projects must be completed by 30 June 2022.

How do you get started?

ERM Power has a team of energy efficiency specialists that can help you manage the end-to-end process – from grant submission to project implementation.

Our specialists can help by understanding your current energy consumption and what steps you can take to improve your business’ energy efficiency.  Whether it’s building your net zero roadmap, installing energy management software, automating equipment to take advantage of the demand response market, upgrading onsite equipment or implementing energy engineering design, there is a range of electricity and gas energy efficiency opportunities that can be explored.

To understand more about the grant program, eligibility requirements and how ERM Power can assist you on your journey to decarbonisation, contact Nick Jones, Head of Energy Solutions, on 02 8243 9117 or email [email protected]

[i] You are responsible for the remaining eligible project expenditure, plus any ineligible expenditure. You cannot use funding from other Commonwealth, State, Territory or local government grants to fund the balance of project expenditure not covered by the grant.