Posted in Energy, Sustainability

Email to Clover Moore about innovative business models for sustainable energy in buildings

“Dear Clover Moore,
“As Lord Mayor of Sydney you have built a solid reputation for sustainable development with your Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan, and actions taken to achieve it. I have written an engineering honours thesis doing a technical, economic and policy analysis for sustainable energy in the built environment, with a focus on the residential sector. I have found that there are some business models that could be very successful in this sector, but require policy support to enable and accelerate them. The business models include on-bill financing, property assessed clean energy, environmental upgrade agreements; and driving business development through policies like mandatory energy performance disclosure for the residential sector and energy performance certification.
“There is a high potential for sustainable energy in the built environment that is largely untapped. Policies and businesses are required to help meet that potential.

Reply:”Dear James

“Clover has asked me to let you know she has received your email. She has forwarded it to relevant City staff for their information.

“Regards,

“Ruth Melville”

I then got another reply:

“Hi James,

“I have been asked to respond on behalf of the Lord Mayor.  I am aware of many of the programs you refer to that are taking place at various scales locally and overseas and would be interested to see your thesis if you were able to email me a copy?  I am actually in the process of writing the final chapter to the latest of the City’s Green Infrastructure Master Plans (on Energy Efficiency), and I am = looking for case studies of successfully operating programs.  If your thesis has relevant case studies that would be great.

“Regards

“Nik”

“Nik Midlam
Manager Carbon Strategy
“City Sustainability”My reply was then:”Nik, here is the link to my thesis. I don’t have many case studies in my thesis.  For broad studies, this study is a good one to read, as is this one. The Wikipedia article on PACE financing is a good introduction, also providing a history and the deployment status in all US states. On-bill financing is available in New York State, and if you do a search online then you will get plenty of results.”

​”Regards,
James​

“Great, thank you for these links James.”Regards

“Nik”

“DearNik,”I forgot to mention case studies for mandatory performance disclosure, energy performance certification (e.g. Green Star Performance and NABERS Energy), and environmental upgrade agreements (a form of on-bill financing), which have all been done in NSW and Australia in the commercial sector. I don’t know of case studies in the residential sector in these areas. What are the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities for extending these schemes into the residential sector?

  • “The strengths are the huge potential for sustainable energy, much of which can be done economically, but policy support can help to accelerate development. Life cycle assessment could be a way of internalising current external costs, which can then be used to justify policy support to internalise externalities.
  • “Weaknesses: the aggregated nature of the residential sector (particularly single-unit dwellings) and the low level of effective demand.
  • “Opportunities: boost economic productivity, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, improve energy security, create jobs, improve international negotiating position for climate mitigation, and mitigate climate change.
  • “Threats: incumbents such as energy utilities, fossil fuel generators and mining; ignorance; lack of expertise; and a change of policy/government causes instability and uncertainty.
“For PACE, the way we could incorporate it here in Australia is to consider money savings or earnings from sustainable energy to be a form of income, which would then be eligible for income tax, which can be paid through property, and can be used to pay back a PACE loan through increased property income taxes.
“Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any feedback or questions.
“Regards,
“James”
“Dear Nik,
“I should add that those policies (mandatory performance disclosure, Green Star, OBF, PACE) can overcome the aggregated nature of single-unit dwellings, as they can have a lower transaction cost, and thereby be more affordable. For the low level of effective demand, non-financial measures are needed, such as customer engagement.
“Regards,
“James”

Correspondence with the Lord Mayor and her office was forwarded to Councillors Mandla, Forster, and Mant. I had quite a bit of helpful correspondence with Councillor Mandla, who also included Chris Abood. I received an acknowledgement from a representative for Councillor Forster. I am yet to receive a response from Councillor Mant.

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