Experts want air-con “clunkers” replaced to soften Victoria demand peaks, cut bills.

Author: Renew Economy   Date Posted:11 October 2019 

Industry experts have urged state governments to provide more incentives for households to replace their old and energy hungry air conditioning units, to help add to the billions being saved by energy efficiency schemes – and to help manage the demand peaks and grid problems expected in the extreme heat of the coming summer.

The call came as the Victorian Government estimates that its energy efficiency scheme has helped save households $3 billion in electricity costs since its inception in 2009.

The Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) scheme provides financial support for households to replace their old appliances with energy efficient alternatives, providing discounts on replacement lighting, hot water systems, heating and cooling systems and household appliances like televisions and fridges.

Air conditioners can be some of the largest contributors to summer peak demand, as households crank up their use during hot summer days and evenings. This places a strain on an electricity system that can often be battling to deal with an increasingly fragile fleet of coal  and gas fired generators.

Reducing the demand created by air conditioning units could be key to avoiding a repeat, and the spread, of load shedding events that have hit Victoria and South Australia in recent summers.

“We want old clunker air-conditioners changed out rapidly which will require a significant financial incentive, as households and businesses don’t bother otherwise – even though inefficient systems cost more to run,” president of the Energy Savings Industry Association (ESIA) Rod Woolley said.

“High volume change-outs will drive down peak demand significantly. This is especially high impact during high temperature days throughout summer when air conditioners go on simultaneously across Victoria – and in neighbouring heat-affected South Australia and New South Wales which all share power supply through massive transmission lines and interconnectors.”

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