Applications now open for grants to small businesses and dairy farming businesses
The Energy Efficient Communities Program will deliver $40 million in grants to help businesses and community groups 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 photovoltaic (PV) generator systems and batteries).
Who is it for and when do applications open?
There are 2 streams to the program:
- Business Stream.
- Community Organisations Stream.
The Business Stream has 3 rounds.
- Applications for the dairy farming business round opened on 22 June 2020 and close on 17 August 2020. More information is available at business.gov.au.
- Applications for the small business round opened on 6 July 2020 and close on 26 August 2020. More information is available at business.gov.au.
- Applications for the high energy-using businesses round open shortly.
The Community Organisations Stream opened on 2 April 2020 and closed on 18 May 2020. Community organisations that received grants will be listed on GrantConnect when the agreements are made.
- A small number of community organisations received an invitation to apply in a separate round, which is to fulfil 2019 election commitments.
How much are the grants?
- Small businesses and dairy farming businesses can apply for a grant of up to $20,000 with no co-contribution required.
- High energy-using businesses will be able to apply for a grant of up to $25,000 with a matching co-contribution required.
- Community organisations could apply for a grant of up to $12,500 with no co-contribution required.
Who is eligible?
Business Stream – eligible applicants will be:
- licensed dairy farming businesses
- small businesses turning over less than $10 million a year
- high energy-using businesses consuming over 0.05 petajoules a year.
The Business Stream incorporates an election commitment of $10 million for dairy farming businesses.
Community Organisations Stream – applicants eligible to apply included:
- 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 were invited by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources to apply.
Full details of the eligibility requirements and how to apply will be specified in the guidelines for each round, when applications open.
What activities will be eligible?
Business Stream – eligible activities include:
- equipment upgrades that reduce energy consumption (excluding solar photovoltaic (PV) generator systems 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 for each round.
Community Organisations Stream – eligible activities included:
- new solar photovoltaic (PV) generator systems
- new 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 energy storage systems.
How will grants be awarded?
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 the program, it's likely to be oversubscribed.
- Guidelines for each round include a mechanism to help ensure the grants are distributed equitably across Australia.
Community organisations that received an election commitment in 2019 and were invited by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources to apply, had to submit a completed application and meet the eligibility criteria.
Small Business Grants (Business.gov.au) Australian Government
Dairy Farming Business Grants (Business.gov.au) Australian Government
Community Energy Efficiency and Solar Grants 2020 (closed) (Business.gov.au) Australian Government
GrantConnect (Grants.gov.au) Australian Government
Helping community groups lower power bills The Honourable Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, media release 6 August 2020
Helping small businesses lower their power bills The Honourable Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, Senator the Honourable Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, joint media release 5 July 2020
Helping dairy farmers lower their power bills The Honourable Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, media release 22 June 2020