‘Standby’ for Greenhouse Action by Australian Government

November 30, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

In a move that further demonstrates the Australian government's action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell and Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Ian Macfarlane announced that Australia will lead the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 'standby' power in electrical appliances. The announcements were made at the 2006 International Stanby Power Conference.

'Standby' power, one of the silent enemies of the global climate, occurs when electrical appliances are not being actively used and look like they are turned off but are often in 'standby mode', consuming electricity and generating greenhouse gases. The Australian government will work with state governments and industry to ensure, by 2012, all electrical appliances would be regulated to meet the 'one watt target.' Currently some appliances use up to 25 watts for their standby mode.

Minister Macfarlane said that not only will this action save greenhouse gas emissions, but it will also have significant economic benefits. "In Australia alone this initiative is set to save the Australian community more than 2.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions and about $350 million per year."

Around 10% of all energy used by Australian households is made up of standby power. Based on the most recent data, this equates to around 750kg of greenhouse gas per house each year.

Senator Campbell said that the Australian government is working with industry to ensure only appliances that meet this new standard will be available on the Australian market. "This action on 'standby' power also has huge potential internationally. Last week Prime Minister, John Howard announced that through the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP6) household electricity consumption could be slashed with coordinated policy action on standby power in partner countries. Such action could have the potential to save more than 140 million tons a year of greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 across AP6 countries' approximately 40% of the total projected electricity consumption for Australia across all sectors in 2030." Campbell concluded that "If you applied that across the entire world, the potential savings in greenhouse gas emissions was enormous. I call on all international economies to follow the lead of Australia and mandate the one watt initiative as soon as practicable."