Both for energy efficiency and for many forms of renewable energy, the major part of the financial effort is situated in the initial investment, which is then paid back over the years. Making lifecycle costing into a standard practice for energy related investments would therefore stimulate the energy transition.
And more generally, the energy transition moves the energy system from being primarily fuel-based to a mixed basis of fuel and capital. In such a context, lowest-first-cost is not a good idea, as it will increase system costs.
Let’s avoid turning capital goods into consumables, and pay attention to durability and circularity.
The cost of implementing ISO 50001 certification assessments in an organisation, and the savings possible, are key considerations.
Cost depends on factors such as the number of sites to be included in the certification; the number of dedicated energy responsible staff; the number of significant energy users; the number and type of energy sources; the complexity of the Energy Management System; and the complexity of the business or organisation.
Typically companies can achieve energy savings of 5-10% in the first years following the adoption of energy management.
For energy users, energy efficiency investment saves energy, energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. It produces multiple benefits for the economy. And it saves on infrastructure costs in the electricity system. While the relative costs of renewables versus energy efficiency are changing, efficiency remains a worthwhile pursuit.
There’s always more we can do with energy efficiency, but sometimes it’s good to step back and see what has already been done.
For example, the EU’s drive towards a more energy efficient future has produced benefits such as:
- New buildings consume half the energy they did in the 1980s.
- Energy intensity in EU industry decreased by 16% between 2005 and 2014.
- More efficient appliances are expected to save households about €465 per year on their energy bills by 2020.
The reasons why EU citizens cannot invest in energy efficiency investment opportunities with a good financial return are similar to the reasons why the ESCO market does not develop as fast as expected .
This is another market failure since citizens will be highly interested to earn a 10% interest rate while society needs these energy savings for a cost-effective energy transition.
Metering technology is advancing fast [4, 61], energy management systems are being put in place and solutions for peer-to-peer transactions are emerging. This gives hope that the future may significantly differ from the past.