Carbon tax to change procurement behaviour

By Paul Hemsley

If local governments spend more in the short term, they will spend less in the long term, according to All-Energy Australia regional director, Boyd Dale.

Mr Dale said local government procurement officers will have to change their purchasing behaviour in wake of the passage of the federal government’s Clean Energy Bill 2011 through the Australian Senate.

“I perceive there will be strategies coming out of government and engineering departments that will say these technologies are commercially available as they would do in any other engineering company,” Mr Dale said.

He said governments would need to make the fiscal argument “that says this is a good reason to do it”.

They will have a capital budget, they will allocate the capital budget as they do, but to embrace the clean energy technologies, Mr Dale said.

“I don’t believe they would do it unless there was a positive benefit and I would argue in many cases there are positive benefits, but in the long run, if there are savings to be made, there’s not a cost to be imparted,” he said.

According to Mr Dale, schools are replacing their sodium lights with LED “because someone in the procurement management aspect said because in a year or so, the extra cost of the lights pay for themselves”.

The All-Energy Australia conference and exhibition is an event aimed at developing carbon mitigation solutions for traditional energy sources, where exhibitors display the latest technology based on renewable energy.

Mr Dale said All-Energy Australia openly invited all three levels of government to take part.

“Our perception is all levels of government are actually embracing this and some of the earlier people who do embrace this will be government at all levels,” he said.

According to Mr Dale, one presentation said there is “not one single silver bullet for energy efficiency, it’s a portfolio”.

”It will be horses-for-courses for which part of that portfolio makes the best economic sense for the individual or the entity,” Mr Dale said.

He said companies are on assessment and have to report what they are doing for energy efficiency through the Energy Efficiency Opportunities legislation.

“They have to do this by legislation, which has been running for years, but nobody talks about it anymore – I suspect in five years time, nobody will be talking about the carbon tax,” Mr Dale said.

He said in five years time, it will not be a carbon tax because it is “supposed to be a cap and trade mechanism”.

“In three years time, I think there will be a global alignment and not just a speaker-fest,” he said.

“As a free market economy example, if all of these political leaders are going to places like Cancun, business is going to Aberdeen in Scotland in droves to have a look at the new clean energy technologies.”

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