25 May 2017

International cooperation on energy efficiency

In April 2017, the International Energy Agency (IEA) held its 19th Technology Collaboration Program on Energy Efficient End-use Equipment (4E) meetings in Vienna, Austria. As the Chair of the IEA 4E, Michelle Croker (who is also Australia’s GEMS Regulator) led 4E’s Executive Committee meeting.

Discussions focussed on progress and outcomes of work being undertaken in 4E Annexes (Solid State Lighting, Electric Motors Systems and Electric Devices and Networks), and the strategic direction of the 4E Program. Other discussions included:

  • The effectiveness of voluntary agreements in regulating the energy efficiency of appliances: a soon to be released report finds that voluntary agreements might be a useful policy tool in specific circumstances in which policy action is desirable but where regulation is currently not practical (e.g. for gathering information/as a preliminary step towards regulation).
  • The development of electric motors standards that will provide an appropriate framework for application in Australia and New Zealand.
  • The effect on energy efficiency of downloaded product updates: discussions centred on regulatory challenges faced when products’ energy efficiencies are effected when users or suppliers download and apply software updates.
  • Compliance discussions included the potential exploitation by suppliers of appliance test conditions to receive favourable energy ratings.

Australia also delivered a presentation on recent developments in energy efficiency labelling in Australia where topics covered included:

  • The proposed introduction of the Zoned Energy Rating Label (ZERL) applicable to air conditioners. The ZERL would provide consumers with information that would enable them to select the model that is most suitable for their climate zone.
  • The current consumer and retailer engagement strategy that includes encouraging retailers to: embed the Energy Rating Calculator on their websites; have their sales staff undertake a free online training program to learn about energy efficient products; and display the voluntary Energy Rating Icon in their brochures and online.

The 4E Program was established in 2008 to support governments in formulating effective policies that increase the production and trade in efficient appliances and electrical equipment. Other participating countries include Austria, Canada, Denmark, France, Japan, Korea, The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the USA. 4E has produced a short video that includes an explanation of the role 4E performs and how 4E is structured – Explaining 4E. Other 4E publications, inclding the 2016 Annual Report, and presentations are available at the 4E website.

4E meetings allow member countries to interact in a collegiate environment and freely exchange energy efficiency ideas and knowledge. During the meetings we received good feedback from the IEA that the 4E is a productive group within the IEA’s broader energy efficiency program.

Australia is hosting the next set of IEA 4E meetings in Canberra during November 2017, and the Solid State Lighting Annex meetings the following week. This will be a great opportunity to showcase E3’s policies and programs and its expertise in energy efficiency policies.

Image: Delegates of the 19th Technology Collaboration Program on Energy Efficient End-use Equipment (4E) meetings in Vienna, Austria, May 2017