| 18 September 2023

Engineers Australia's Input on the ACT Integrated Energy Plan

Following a member forum, and written feedback received by Engineers Australia members, we submitted comprehensive feedback on the ACT Government’s Integrated Energy Plan.  

Engineers Australia commends the ACT Government's dedication to fostering a sustainable energy future and appreciate the opportunity to contribute to the development of the Plan.  

Participating in consultation ensures policies and projects not only have the best chance of being well-informed but also aligned with the needs and aspirations of the engineering profession and the broader community.  

Engineers Australia looks forward to continued collaboration and partnership with the ACT Government to drive innovation and sustainable solutions for the region's infrastructure and energy challenges. 

Caitlin Buttress, Engineers Australia ACT General Manager says we play a vital role in setting standards, promoting ethical conduct, and supporting the growth and development of engineers throughout Australia.  

“While our values align to the ACT Government’s commitment to the energy transition, our feedback aims to further refine the Plan's efficacy while aligning with essential engineering principles and addressing crucial concerns.” 

Summary of our feedback and recommendations 

Guiding principles for energy efficiency: Engineers Australia emphasises the need to include energy efficiency within the guiding principles of the Plan. These principles should incorporate specific targets and strategies to promote energy-efficient technologies across all sectors, aligning with long-term sustainability goals. 

Equity and access: the Plan should clarify its approach to addressing equity and access, particularly regarding the 'consumer-led' approach to transitioning away from gas. Engineers Australia stresses the importance of ensuring affordability and accessibility for all communities throughout the transition. 

Inclusion of electrical and mechanical engineering: electrical and mechanical engineering are essential skillsets for a successful energy transition. These disciplines play critical roles in designing, implementing and maintaining sustainable energy systems. Engineers Australia firmly recommends these engineering disciplines are included in the workforce plan for addressing skills to deliver the transition. 

Alignment with ACT Chief Engineer's Engineering Workforce Plan: Engineers Australia recommends better alignment with the ACT Chief Engineer's Engineering Workforce Plan to address workforce challenges effectively. 

Clarity on data sources and modelling: data sources and methodologies used in the Plan's modelling processes should be more transparent to enhance its credibility. 

Success measures: Engineers Australia suggests incorporating milestone charts against specified goals to provide transparency and accountability in tracking progress. 

End of life recycling and circular economy: we recommend incorporating circular economy principles into the Plan to optimise resource use and minimise waste, contributing to a more sustainable energy future and helping to achieve the Plan’s overall objectives. 

Retention of existing gas infrastructure: Engineers Australia encourages exploration of the repurposing of existing gas infrastructure for emerging renewable options like biomass to maintain energy reliability during the transition. 

Stakeholder engagement and governance: collaboration with key stakeholders is crucial for achieving the Plan's objectives effectively. 

Government's role as a leader and role model: Engineers Australia encourages the ACT Government to embrace a leadership role in the energy transition, demonstrate their own commitment by early transition to electrification with Government assets and pave the way for others to also embrace and support the changes. 

Leveraging opportunities for national leadership: the opportunity for the ACT Government to be a leader in this space should not be squandered. Collaboration with educational institutions and industry can position the ACT as a national leader in sustainable energy innovation and knowledge exchange. 

Engineers Australia's submission reflects a commitment to collaboration and constructive dialogue with the ACT Government.  

“By addressing these feedback points and recommendations, the ACT Integrated Energy Plan has the potential to become a model for other regions in Australia and a leader in the global fight against climate change,” Ms. Buttress says.  

Engineers Australia looks forward to continued partnership in shaping a sustainable and resilient energy future for the region. 

You can read the full position paper on our website.