[125] Efficiency leaders and laggards

This hardly comes as a surprise. Stimulated by regulation and competition, industry has been making massive improvements in energy efficiency, while transport and buildings are lagging behind.

With electric vehicles, building automation systems and heat pumps, the technologies to make a big leap forward in these sectors are at hand. However, the transition is slowed down by:

  • Barriers in the electric vehicle market such as lack of consumer choice and limitations in charging infrastructure.
  • Slow building renovation rates.

[122] Who will deliver on energy efficiency?

This report demonstrated how improved energy productivity can drive growth, create jobs and spread well-being throughout society. To make this happen, we should accelerate the transition. ‘The world is deploying new technology much too slowly to keep up with rising energy demand’.

Considering the multiple benefits and vast potential of energy efficiency, why are we still discussing it in Brussels? The answer lies in the complexity of energy efficiency at the crossroads of regulation [13, 20], markets [19], technology [17] and psychology [32].

[121] What’s in it for me?

This tweet referred to research from the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) proving that the EU Energy Efficiency Obligations (EEOs) can deliver consumer savings worth more than 4 times the costs of meeting the EEOs. But this only becomes apparent when a full evaluation is made.

To gain broader acceptance for EEOs, more emphasis could be placed on their cost effectiveness, enhancing consumer spending power and improving business competitiveness.

[116] Going beyond business-as-usual

Energy efficiency is significantly impacting global energy demand, reducing consumers’ energy bills, holding back emissions growth and making energy systems more secure.

However, according to the IEA (Dec 2017), ‘global progress has become dependent on yesterday’s policies, with the implementation of new policies slowing. If the world is to transition to a clean energy future, a pipeline of new efficiency policies needs to be coming into force. Instead, the current low rate of implementation risks a backward step.’

[112] The baseline will always be imperfect

True! Here’s a counterfactual that is particularly difficult to grasp in its entirety:

Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is projected to cause about 250,000 additional deaths per year from heat stress, malnutrition and the spread of infectious diseases.

World Health Organisation