The Tasmanian government announced on Wednesday a new $50 million loan scheme to support commercial and industrial customers to invest in energy efficiency improvements.
Tasmania already operates the Energy Saver Loan Scheme which provides interest free loans of between $500 and $10,000 over three years. This scheme seeks to help households, small businesses and rental properties to invest in energy efficient products to help lower their electricity bills.
This new $50 million loan scheme is designed to support those commercial and industrial (C&I) customers who are unable to access the Energy Saver Loan Scheme due to their higher energy use – more than 150MWh per year.
Zero interest loans
C&I customers will be able to apply for no interest loans of up to $10,000 with the option to apply for further low interest loans up to $50,000 for three years.
According to the Tasmanian government, there are currently more than 2,000 C&I customers that will be eligible to apply for the new loans.
It is expected that the new loan scheme will be a huge relief for many C&I customers who are coming off existing power supply contracts and facing new cost pressures due to soaring wholesale energy prices.
The value of efficiency
To ensure the new loan scheme makes a real difference, the Tasmanian government says it is looking to partner with businesses to support them in undertaking energy efficiency audits of their operations to inform their loan applications.
“Investing and partnering with industry to improve energy efficiency is a real and tangible way the government can respond to the current pressures in a responsible way to help secure the state’s future,” Tasmania energy minister Guy Barnett said.
Unwilling to let the announcement pass without a swipe at their political opponents, the Tasmanian Liberal government described Labor’s proposal for a retail price cap as a “blunt, untargeted stunt.”