Energy efficiency gains ground despite lower energy prices

Economies have needed less energy to grow in recent years, especially in China and other developing countries. However more vigorous policies are needed to achieve climate targets, as confirmed by a new International Energy Agency (IEA) report that highlights the progress made by energy efficiency policies around the world over the past year. The IEA’s Energy Efficiency Market Report 2016 examines the role of energy efficiency in the global energy transition. Simply put, there is no realistic or affordable energy and climate change policy without a sizeable and vigorous energy efficiency component. The report demonstrates the central role of government policy in driving energy efficiency and shows that policies must be strengthened and expanded to boost the potential gains from energy efficiency.

Global energy intensity – the amount of energy used per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) – improved by 1.8% in 2015, meaning that the global economy needed less energy to grow. This is good news, surpassing the 1.5% gain seen in 2014 and tripling the annual rate (0.6%) recorded in the previous decade. This improvement is particularly noteworthy in the context of lower energy prices, with the global price of crude oil falling by as much as 60% since 2014. However, global progress on energy intensity is still too slow, falling short of positioning the world on a sustainable pathway toward a decarbonised energy system. The IEA analysis shows that annual energy intensity improvements need to rise immediately to at least 2.6% in a trajectory consistent with the climate goals. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY October 2016