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Published June 20, 2022
Stronger efficiency measures can reduce energy bills, fuel imports and greenhouse gas emissions significantly, analysis by the International Energy Agency has found.
According to the new analysis, doubling the current global rate of energy intensity improvement to 4% a year has the potential to avoid energy consumption equivalent to the current annual energy use of China (95 exajoules a year) by the end of this decade compared with a pathway based on today’s policy settings.
That level of savings would reduce global CO2 emissions by an additional 5 billion tonnes a year by 2030. This is about a third of the total emissions reduction efforts needed this decade to move the world onto a pathway to net zero emissions by mid-century.
This would enable households to save as much as USD 650 billion a year on energy bills by the end of the decade. The world would avoid using four times the natural gas imported by the European Union imported from Russia last year. Oil consumption would be down almost 30 million barrels of oil per day. A push on improving energy efficiency could create 10 million additional jobs in fields such as building retrofits to manufacturing and transport infrastructure.
Significant opportunities for rapid energy efficiency gains are available in all sectors of the global economy, the IEA claims. Most of these opportunities involve readily available technologies and would fully pay for themselves through lower running costs, especially at today’s high energy prices. By 2030, around a third of the avoided energy demand comes from deploying more efficient equipment, ranging from air conditioners to cars. About a fifth comes from electrification, such as switching to heat pumps or electric cars. Digitalisation and use of more efficient materials in industry provide much of the rest.
IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said: “Energy efficiency is a critical solution to so many of the world’s most urgent challenges – it can simultaneously make our energy supplies more affordable, more secure and more sustainable. But inexplicably, government and business leaders are failing to sufficiently act on this. The oil shocks of the 1970s set in motion major advances in efficiency, and it is utterly essential that efficiency is at the heart of the response to today’s global energy crisis.”