The Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) program was established in July 2006 with the implementation of the Energy Efficiency Opportunities Act 2006 (the Act). The object of the Act was to improve the identification and evaluation of energy efficiency opportunities by large energy-using corporations and, as a result, encourage implementation of cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities.
The government decided to close the EEO program, with effect from 29 June 2014. This decision was in line with the government’s commitment to reduce costs for business and its deregulation agenda.
This content provides information about the objective of the EEO program, how it was implemented, key results achieved, and key information resources.
In this section
EEX now hosts key information and capacity-building resources that were developed through the EEO program. These resources will remain useful to companies that participated in the program as well as others looking to improve their energy management practices.
To view and access these resources, please visit the EEO program Resources page.
About the program
Participation in the EEO program was mandatory for corporations that individually, or as part of a corporate group, used energy beyond 0.5 PJ per financial year (the equivalent of 10,000 households). The program included corporations in the mining, manufacturing, commercial, services, transport and electricity generation (from July 2011) sectors. At June 2013, these corporations together accounted for 56% of Australia’s total energy use.
In 2012, the program introduced voluntary participation for medium-energy users. The following year, corporations undertaking new developments or major expansion projects were included to help ensure energy efficiency was included in design considerations.
Key features of the program are outlined below.
- A focus on improving energy use in a business, bringing benefits in productivity, competitiveness and greenhouse gas abatement.
- Legislative requirements that were light-handed; only the processes for assessing and reporting on energy use was mandatory for corporations. The actual implementation of opportunities was not mandatory, although many corporations did act to improve energy efficiency once information was available.
- Promotion of a rigorous approach to assessing energy-use which aimed to permanently change behaviour within a company beyond mere standards compliance. When corporations develop an understanding of how energy is used in their business, they are able to make decisions on implementation that fit with other business priorities.
- A wide range of comprehensive tools and information was developed by the Australian Government to help corporations discover as many opportunities as possible.
Each corporation was required to undertake an energy assessment in line with a legislated EEO assessment framework involving six key elements:
- Senior leadership and management endorsement of energy performance objective.
- Involvement of experts and company staff with an influence on energy use.
- The collection and analysis of energy-use data to underpin an assessment.
- A systematic process to identify and evaluate opportunities to improve energy productivity.
- The presentation of outcomes to decision-makers and the board.
- Public reporting of assessment outcomes.
Corporations were required to report the energy efficiency opportunities identified from assessments, and the energy savings that could arise if the opportunities were implemented. Corporations also reported the business response to the identified savings, which was categorised as adopted, under investigation or not to be implemented.
The assessment framework was amended in 2013 to address the recommendations from the program’s full-cycle evaluation.
Please visit the Assessment framework page to download the original and amended versions of the framework as well as the EEO Assessment Handbook.
The program’s EEO Five Year Results Report identified the following key results from the program’s first five-year cycle, covering the period 2006–2011:
- Identified opportunities amounted to energy savings of 164.2 PJ, which was equivalent to 2.7% of Australian annual energy use or approximately 3.3 million Australian households and their cars.
- These identified opportunities with payback periods of four years or less were expected to lead to annual net financial benefits of $1243 million.
- Adopted project savings amounted to 88.8 PJ (54% of the energy savings identified) or annual net financial benefits of $808 million.
- Identified opportunities equated to a potential greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 14.5 MtCO2e or 2.6% of total Australian greenhouse gas emissions in the 12 months to December 2011.
- Adopted project savings equated to an estimated emissions reduction of 8.2 MtCO2e which was equivalent to 1.5% of total Australian greenhouse gas emissions or approximately 2.3 million cars off the road.
An independent full-cycle evaluation of the program concluded the following:
- The program was effective in addressing information barriers and improving the identification and evaluation of energy efficiency opportunities by participating corporations.
- Significant improvements were made in organisational capability and the uptake of good energy management practices by EEO program corporations between 2005 and 2012 particularly in the areas of data analysis, opportunity identification and decision making.
- The program was appropriate, as it targeted an information failure not adequately addressed by a carbon price, and had delivered significant additional benefit to participating corporations.
- A conservative estimate is that, during the first cycle, the EEO program was responsible for approximately 40% of energy efficiency improvements within the Australian industrial sector.
Five-year results reports
The reports listed below draw data from the reports of corporations whose 2005–06 energy use triggered their participation in the EEO program, covering the changes, developments and trends over the first five-year cycle of the program (2006–11). They show energy use, savings, indicators and related data from the baseline (as provided in corporate assessment plans), the first government report (two years after commencement) and the final government report (five years after commencement).
These reports also use data from the descriptions of three major opportunities in each corporation’s public report.
Please note: all of these files will open in a new window.
Continuing Opportunities Report (2011) (Opens in a new window) PDF 4.17 MB: This report presents high-level outcomes for the EEO Program. The results are compiled from data reported by the participating corporations in government and/or public reports lodged by participating companies in December 2011. The 2011 results build on previous years and indicate that EEO participants derived substantial benefits from ongoing energy and emissions savings.
First Opportunities Report (2008) (Opens in a new window) PDF 1.33 MB: This report presents the results of initial assessments undertaken by 199 corporations who provided their first government and public reports in December 2008. It features aggregate results for the program and examples of significant energy efficiency opportunities, and qualitative analysis of the types of opportunities participants were finding and adopting.