Policy status:Ended
Date Effective:2006
Date Amended:

1 July 2011; 1 July 2012; 1 July 2013

Date Ended:2014
Policy Type:Voluntary Approaches>Negotiated Agreements (Public-private sector), Information and Education>Information provision, Regulatory Instruments>Auditing
Policy Target:Industry>Industrial subsectors>Cross-industry
Agency:Department of Industry
Legal References:Energy Efficiency Opportunities Act 2006; Energy Efficiency Opportunities Regulations 2006
Enforcement:Court imposed penalties
Funding:Initial commitment: AUD 17 million for 2004-5 to 2008-9; 2009-10 AUD 2.9m; 2010-11 to 2012-13 AUD 21m. The Clean Energy Future package outlines further funding for the program out to 30 June 2017.
Evaluation:In March 2013 an independent evaluation undertaken by ACIL Tasman found the program to be effective, appropriate and efficient. The evaluation highlighted that internal access to information had improved over the first five-year cycle. It also found a marked improvement in the knowledge, skills and systems available to identify, implement and track energy saving opportunities. Based on these findings, the evaluation concluded that the program was effective in achieving its stated objective. It also found that many of the key concepts of the programme were considered to be standard procedure post the first five year cycle. However, the evaluation also found that the benefits and impacts of the program were diminishing and that the impact above business as usual was dropping to 20% in the second five year cycle.
Penalty:AUD 110,000 per offence

The Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) program was first announced by the Australian federal government in its energy white paper, 'Securing Australia's Energy Future', in June 2004. The programme’s requirements were set out in the Energy Efficiency Opportunities Act 2006, which came into effect on 1 July 2006. Under the program, all corporate groups using more than 0.5 petajoules of energy per year were required to undertake a rigorous energy efficiency opportunity assessment every five years and to report publicly on the outcomes of this assessment. EEO covered approximately 450 businesses across all sectors (as at 31 March 2014) that accounted for 65% of all energy end-use.

Each of these businesses uses at least as much energy as 10,000 average Australian households. EEO stimulated the business sector to take a more rigorous approach to energy use and energy efficiency by addressing the information failures and organisational barriers which work against businesses identifying and implementing cost effective improvements in energy efficiency. EEO provided advice, produces guidance's materials, case studies and holding annual workshops. 

The program aimed to achieve these objectives by improving the identification, evaluation and resulting uptake of cost effective energy efficiency opportunities by improving the standard of energy efficiency assessments undertaken by corporations and requiring public reporting of the assessment outcomes and business responses. However, implementation of energy efficiency opportunities was voluntary - corporations were free to make decisions on energy efficiency investments through their normal business processes. The approach taken in the program was based on the experiences of businesses and governments in energy efficiency programmes such as those run by state and territory governments and the federal level Energy Efficiency Best Practice (EEBP) program, which operated across several industry sectors from 1998-2003. The program took a 'whole of business' approach to assessing energy use and energy efficiency opportunities in its framework assessment. The framework involved corporations looking at the many factors influencing energy use, including: leadership; management and policy; the accuracy and quality of data and analysis; the skills and perspectives of a wide range of people; decision making; and communicating outcomes. Participants were expected to meet minimum requirements in each of these areas. Corporations had to follow the following steps, with the programme operating on a five-year cycle:

  • Determining whether the corporation must participate in the Energy Efficiency Opportunities program
  • Registering with the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (9 months after trigger year)
  • Preparing and submitting an assessment and reporting schedule (18 months after trigger year)
  • Conducting assessments (first assessments to be completed 24 months after trigger year)
  • Publicly reporting on assessment outcomes and business response to the energy saving opportunities (30 months after trigger year with yearly updates).

Corporations reported that at June 2011 they had in aggregate assessed 90% of their total energy use, identifying savings to improve energy productivity totalling 164.2 petajoules. Fifty-four per cent of the energy savings identified had been adopted by corporations, estimated to save 88.8 petajoules of energy per year. This is equivalent to 1.5% of Australia's total energy use. The program was extended to electricity generators from 1 July 2011.

This program is no longer operational.


In July 2011 the EEO Program was extended to include the electricity generation sector. This raised the number of participating corporations to over 300, representing almost 60% of Australia’s total energy use.  

Voluntary participation of medium energy users commenced on 1 July 2012, supported by the Energy Efficiency Exchange website.

In July 2013 the EEO Program was extended to cover new developments and major expansion projects. This extension was based on a regulatory impact statement and detailed industry trials that identified energy savings in the order of 10-40% for new developments and major expansions.

The new developments and expansions work requires corporations to embed energy efficiency assessments into the design process for projects with high future energy use.  Corporations undertake assessments from project conception, through to post commissioning.

New regulations were passed in August 2013 to address industry concerns and lighten the compliance burden for participating corporations while maintaining EEO outcomes. These new regulations give corporations greater opportunity to align the program requirements with their existing business practices. This includes offering corporations the option to use alternative processes that better suit their specific business practices to those specified in the EEO Program. The new regulations also streamline reporting requirements and lessen the reporting burden on corporations by using existing energy use reporting mechanisms.

Related policies:Energy Efficiency Best Practice (EEBP) programme , National Strategy on Energy Efficiency (NSEE) , Energy Efficiency Exchange , Industrial Energy Efficiency Data Analysis Project

date effective: 2006 (1 July)

Last modified: Thu, 02 Nov 2017 20:14:22 CET