Government priorities

Government priorities

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Energy Efficient Communities Program

The Energy Efficient Communities Program will deliver $40 million in grants to help community groups and businesses lower their energy bills and reduce emissions.

What is the aim of the program?

To help businesses and community organisations save energy and lower bills through:

  • equipment upgrades that reduce energy consumption
  • investment in energy and emissions monitoring and management systems to better manage energy use
  • completion of energy systems assessments according to the Australian Standard or feasibility studies to investigate energy efficiency opportunities
  • for community organisations only, energy generation and storage projects (for example, solar PV panels, batteries and solar hot water)

Who is it for and when do applications open?

There are 2 streams to the program:

  • Business Stream
  • Community Organisations Stream

The Business Stream is expected to open in mid-2020.

The Community Organisations Stream opened on 2 April 2020. More information is available at business.gov.au.

Please note, a small number of community organisations have received an invitation to apply in a separate round, which is to fulfil 2019 election commitments.

How much are the grants?

  • Community organisations can apply for a grant of up to $12,500 with no co-contribution required.
  • Small businesses can apply for a grant of up to $20,000 with no co-contribution required.
  • High energy-using businesses can apply for a grant of up to $25,000 with a matching co-contribution required.

Who is eligible?

Community Organisations Stream – eligible applicants include:

  • incorporated, not-for-profit community groups, including Men’s Sheds, community owned kindergartens, welfare centres, community centres, women’s associations, community owned childcare centres, community sporting clubs, Scout and Guide groups, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community groups and surf lifesaving clubs
  • country fire authorities and rural fire services (or equivalent in each state or territory)
  • those that received an election commitment and have been invited, by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, to apply

Business Stream – eligible applicants will be:

  • small businesses turning over less than $10 million per year
  • high energy-using businesses consuming over 0.05 petajoules each year

The Business Stream incorporates an election commitment of $10 million for Dairy Farming Businesses, which may apply through either of the above categories, subject to eligibility.

Full details of the eligibility requirements and how to apply will be specified in the guidelines, when released.

What activities will be eligible?

Community Organisations Stream – eligible activities include:

  • new solar photovoltaic (PV) generator systems
  • new battery systems and battery energy storage systems
  • new solar hot water heaters or air source hot water heat pumps to replace existing hot water heaters
  • new LED lighting equipment to replace existing non-LED lighting
  • new energy efficient lighting controls
  • new high efficiency split system air conditioning units to replace existing split system, packaged or window-wall air conditioning units
  • energy audits

Election commitments given to community organisations limit the eligible activities for those that received an invitation to apply to:

  • new solar photovoltaic (PV) generator systems
  • new battery systems and battery energy storage systems

Business Stream – eligible activities are expected to include:

  • equipment upgrades that reduce energy consumption (excluding solar generators and batteries)
  • investment in monitoring systems to better manage energy use
  • energy audits or energy-efficiency investment feasibility studies

Details of eligible activities for the Business Stream will be specified in the guidelines, when released.

How will grants be awarded?

Community Organisations Stream

Grants will be awarded to eligible applicants on a first come, first served basis.

  • The grant selection process will take into account the date and time that a completed application is received.
  • Given the high level of interest in this grant opportunity, it is likely to be oversubscribed.
  • Guidelines for this grant opportunity include a mechanism to help ensure the grants are distributed equitably across Australia.

Community organisations that received an election commitment in 2019 and have been invited by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources to apply, must submit a completed application and meet the eligibility criteria. 

Business Stream

Details of how grants to businesses will be awarded will be specified in the guidelines, when released.

Where can I get more information?

More information on the Energy Efficient Communities Program is available at business.gov.au.