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IEA predicts world heading for turning point as energy efficiency improves

Published December 12, 2022

IEA predicts world heading for turning point as energy efficiency improves

The world is heading for a turning point if it continues with the current rate of progress on energy efficiency, according to the International Energy Agency.

Investment in efficiency measures, including building renovations, green public transport and electric car infrastructure, reached $560 billion in 2022, an increase of 16% on 2021.  And in the last year, the global economy used energy 2% more efficiently than in 2021, a rate of improvement almost four times that of the past two years.

As result of taking efficiency actions taken since 2000, IEA countries saved $680 billion on their energy bills in 2022. One in every eight cars sold globally is now electric, and almost 3 million heat pumps are set to be sold in 2022 in Europe alone – up from 1.5 million in 2019.

Fuel supply disruptions and record energy prices are driving consumers and governments to use energy more efficiently, the IEA states in its latest market report, Energy Efficiency 2022. Nevertheless, efficiency improvements need to average about 4% a year to align with the target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

The IEA figures show annual efficiency gains had fallen to around 0.5% in 2020 and 2021 after Covid-19 led to two of the worst years ever for global energy efficiency progress. During this time, low energy-intensive sectors contracted and the pace of retrofits and upgrades in buildings and factories slowed.  The global rate of improvement had already fallen before 2019, from 2% in the first half of the last decade to 1.3% in the second half.