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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Energy and Water Utilities
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Energy conservation project pays big dividends

    Energy and Water Utilities
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Thursday, May 05, 2011

    Energy conservation project pays big dividends

    A pilot project to help businesses use less electricity is delivering big dividends for Townsville, Energy Minister Stephen Robertson said while visiting the region today.

    Mr Robertson said Ergon Energy’s Demand Management Pilot Program is on track to save participating customers $7 million a year in electricity bills and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 42,000 tonnes a year.

    “That is the equivalent of taking more than 9000 cars off the road,” he said.

    “In its first two years the project has also delayed Ergon Energy’s need to spend $72 million more to build a bigger electricity network to meet growing demand in Townsville.”

    Mr Robertson said Ergon Energy and the Bligh Government have invested $11.5 million in the pilot project, which aims to deliver 20 megawatts of demand reduction by 2015.

    “Already, the project is tracking 20 per cent above target, with commitments to deliver 24 megawatts of savings,” he said.

    “Ergon Energy will be able to supply about 7000 more average homes in Townsville on its existing network.”

    Mr Robertson visited Townsville today to see some of the early results of the successful pilot program and to reward participating customers for their demand reduction efforts.

    The Minister presented the university with an incentive payment of just over $200,000 for its first year of electrical savings, which will be used to help fund further energy-saving initiatives across the campus.

    “James Cook University has delivered the greatest demand savings over the past year, cutting 5.71 megawatts off its electrical demand by installing a central district chiller plant to air-condition its Douglas campus,” he said.

    “The university invested $23 million in the technology, which slashed 27 per cent off its electricity usage and saved it approximately $2 million in electrical and operating costs in its first full year of operation.

    “By investing in smart energy technologies, the university will be able to increase its air-conditioned floor space by more than 65 per cent as planned by 2015 and use less electricity than it did in 2008.

    “This smart electricity technology is helping build sustainable education in North Queensland.”

    Other organisations who have received big savings as a result of the program:

    • St Anthony’s Catholic College’s mini central chiller plant has delivered energy savings of 34 per cent in its first year of operation, attracting an incentive payment of $27,830 (inclusive of GST) for reducing its electrical demand by 110 kilowatts (42 per cent).

    • Patella Properties Pty Ltd, the owners of 235 Stanley Street, deliver a 5-star energy rating to the 18-year-old office block – the oldest building in Australia to achieve this rating. The office block now meets the same energy standards as a greenfield building and is just one of three buildings in North Queensland (the other two are new buildings) to have achieved a 5-star rating. The company reduced demand by 567 kilowatts (38 per cent), with the property achieving a 32 per cent saving on its energy bills.

    • Not-for-profit organisation Kith and Kin joined the demand management pilot after installing a 6.6 kilowatt solar array on its roof. With some small additional measures - installing ceiling fans, changing to LED lighting, using heat reflective paint on the roof and installing baffles on its domestic air-conditioning units - the charity cut electrical demand by 10 kilowatts. The first year of electrical demand savings achieved through the Ergon Energy program could help Kith and Kin provide more than 130 hours of additional services to the disabled community of Townsville every year.

    Ergon Energy Executive General Manager Peter Billing said Ergon Energy is now rolling out more demand-management projects across the state.

    “This is all due to the success of the Townsville pilot,” Mr Billing said.

    “The success of this pilot project and the enthusiasm of our customers to invest in energy-efficiency is proving that demand-side management has a big role to play in helping us meet the energy needs of regional Queensland in the most affordable and sustainable manner for all our customers and the environment.”

    Media contact: Minister's office - 3225 1819

    5 May 2011