ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Overlooked Global Energy Efficiency Opportunity
High energy prices, Ukraine war and rising demand response potential spur energy efficiency efforts; Innovative uses of efficiency as demand response to meet power system needs can end natural gas and coal dependence, according to a new International Energy Agency initiative.
Herman K. Trabish, July 11, 2022 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The EU has been preparing since March for the winter that is now upon it. The world is watching.
Energy efficiency, the cleanest, lowest cost, most overlooked resource in the climate fight, is now part of the world’s pushback against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the International Energy Agency.
Energy efficiency, or EE, is fundamental to the clean energy transition, analysts have long agreed. Energy efficiency, or EE, is fundamental to the clean energy transition, analysts have long agreed. But the Ukraine war-driven urgency for the European Union to end reliance on Russian natural gas and avoid stopgap coal burning now makes EE vital, a June 10 statement co-signed by the U.S. and 25 IEA parties in the Americas, Africa, Asia and the EU recognized.
EE is “critical” to keeping world energy “affordable, secure, and clean,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol told the annual IEA Global Conference on Energy Efficiency June 8. And world leaders must make the conference “a meeting of hope” where “the world hits the accelerator on efficiency” or they may “pay the price for years to come.”
This “could be the peace project of our time,” U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman added at the conference. “Russia’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine has challenged us to think differently about how we generate, distribute, and use energy, and the case for energy efficiency has never been more urgent.”
In the U.S., EE has enormous potential but must demonstrate its value across different regulatory and market circumstances, Speakes-Backman and other U.S. EE advocates said during and after the IEA conference. With more innovative and comprehensive policies, EE can have great value as demand response, or DR, and be used when and where the power system needs kWh reductions the most, they said.
New numbers support the IEA initiative. Halving EU energy intensity, a ratio of energy use to gross domestic product, could reduce the need for “650 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year,” about four times the EU’s 2021 Russian imports, according to the IEA report released during the conference. “Total energy savings” could lower EU electricity bills “at least $650 billion a year by 2030,” the report added… click here for more