- EV charging was found to be more diverse and flexible than anticipated in ARENA research
- Energy efficiency for renters advocated for by HAFF as integral to tackle cost of living strains and net zero targets
- Commbank survey confirms consumer sentiment around energy efficient upgrades – good for property value but affordability a barrier
EV impacts on the grid, ARENA makes interesting findings
AGL and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) have released the findings of their Electric Vehicle Orchestration Trial, a comprehensive $8 million project that began in early 2022. The primary objective was to understand the relationship between customer EV charging behaviour and its impact on the grid during peak periods. The results revealed some unexpected findings, such as:
- a smaller EV charging load than anticipated. Only 16% of home chargers were being used daily
- customers were generally open to having their charging controlled as long as they had the option to opt out, though opt-outs were rarely utilised.
- the anticipated early evening peak in charging was largely absent from the data.
It was also found that offering time-of-use tariffs effectively encouraged EV owners to shift their charging to off-peak times, reducing demand during peak hours and an impressive 84% of participants in the trial expressed interest in signing up for a smart charging service. Bruce Hardy, AGL general manager for emerging business, said the electrification of transport is a key requirement on the path to net zero.
Call to action to tackle rental energy-efficiency
The Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) has reinvigorated the conversation surrounding renters’ financial challenges. With one-third of Australians renting, escalating costs, including record-high rent increases and soaring power bills have become a central issue for many. Rental properties face a number of challenges, one mainstay being much lower energy-efficiency, resulting in discomfort during extreme weather and larger energy bills for heating and cooling. In combination with this is the distinct barrier to adoption of rooftop solar or other upgrades which could significantly reduce bill spend as landlords are responsible for funding such upgrades without immediate benefit. As a result, renters are bearing nearly 10% higher power expenses.
To significantly reduce power bills, a shift to modern electrical alternatives and rooftop solar coupled with improved insulation has been flagged by HAFF and it has called on the government to offer targeted support for electrification and insulation of rental properties by employing technologies that yield immediate results. The following has been shortlisted as key prime movers:
- A policy to incentivise landlords to replace gas appliances with more efficient electrical options.
- Mandatory (nationwide) disclosure of rental property energy performance, along with minimum efficiency standards.
- A centralised resource (one-stop-shop) for electrification information and incentives, along with tailored solutions for apartments and high-density living.
- State-level reforms, particularly addressing outdated strata laws.
The HAFF say that the above would play a vital role in alleviating the cost-of-living crisis for renters while advancing climate action and the energy transition, and intend on prioritising these opportunities in upcoming meetings with stakeholders and the Energy Minister.
Commbank survey shows consumer need to reduce cost barriers to energy efficient upgrades
A recent survey commissioned by CommBank revealed that 71% of Australians believe that incorporating energy-efficient features like solar panels, double glazed windows, and LED lights can enhance property value.
The research identified increased insulation, solar panels, and highly efficient water fixtures as the top priority energy-efficient features for Australians. The survey found that nearly 8 in 10 homeowners plan to install green/clean energy products, with almost a quarter intending to do so within the next year.
CommBank’s Executive General Manager Home Buying, Michael Baumann, emphasised that energy-efficient features are transitioning from a luxury to a necessity for many Australians. However, cost remains a significant barrier, as 60% cited affordability as a hindrance to making energy-efficient upgrades. Baumann highlighted the availability of CommBank Green Loans, designed to assist customers in financing eligible energy-efficient home improvements. The maximum loan size has been increased to $30,000, covering a broader range of products such as heat pump hot water systems, electric vehicle charging stations, and more.
At Ecovantage, we consistently analyse market activity, policy changes, consultation releases, and creation rates in conjunction with wider landscape activity. This allows us to keep our clients at the forefront of all relevant changes, and to leverage the advantage that this presents. Thank you for your continued support, and please reach out if you have any general or project-specific questions.