Taylor said an important finding from the report is not just what energy efficiency can do – but what would happen if nothing is done.
“The business-as-usual modelling has energy efficiency only playing 2.1 per cent of our emissions reductions job out to 2050,” she said. “It’s critical to think about how we can massively ramp up something that, in most situations, is the most cost-effective thing you can do - and just get it out to businesses and households now, immediately.
“We're talking thermal performance from insulation, draft proofing. We're talking energy-efficient heat pumps. We're talking energy-efficient lighting.
“We're talking energy-efficient process improvements, from energy management systems, electrification. We're talking about changing something from a gas system to an electric system or a fuel system to an electric system.”
Rewiring for the future
Wong said investment in renewables, including Australia’s electricity network, would eventually help lower Australia’ s emissions - but take time. Energy efficiency is more readily available and faces less immediate barriers, he said.
“We are approaching a level of technical constraint in our network,” he said. “[The shift to renewables] requires a fundamental rewiring of the transmission network. Because the pipes that transport those electrons are now built for existing technologies, which is largely around centralised thermal generation.