The report ‘Energy Efficiency 2018’ analyzes the potential for energy efficiency improvement through a new scenario called Efficient World Scenario (EWS). It is a context that shows what would happen if all available energy efficiency measures were implemented from now until 2040. For the energy policy analyst of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Hugo Salamanca: “All these measures are profitable and use currently available technologies”.
The Efficient World Scenario, calculated on the basis of 60% more surface occupied by buildings, a population greater by 20%, and twice the current world GDP, sets that the levels of energy demand would increase only slightly above the current and Greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 12%. In this sense, one of the conclusions of the report highlights that energy efficiency is “indispensable to achieving global climate goals”, because it can represent about 40% of the reductions required for the year 2040, in line with the Paris Agreement.
The goals require urgent measures
In this scenario, energy productivity could more than double, from USD 9000 to USD 18,000 of GDP per ton of oil equivalent. In addition, the consumer bill would be reduced by more than $ 500 billion dollars per year; energy imports would decrease; and air pollution in cities would be reduced.
To achieve this, the expert from the International Energy Agency has pointed out that urgent changes are needed in policy measures, both in the efficiency of buildings, industry and transport (cars and trucks). In addition, the international group has focused on areas such as aviation and maritime transport, where energy efficiency is increasingly important.
Investment, key in energy efficiency
The report, presented at the Spanish Energy Club (Enerclub), points out that investment in energy efficiency is key. However, global investment levels only grew marginally in 2017, up 3%, to USD 236 billion. The buildings sector continues to be the one with the highest investment, reaching USD 140 billion (59%) of the world total in 2017.
The global investment in energy efficiency should increase significantly, doubling until 2025 and, again, until 2040. In this sense, the International Energy Agency considers that the governments of the different countries should stimulate this investment, which will gain back its value by threefold through energy saving.
The slowdown of the last two years
The report also warns of the slowdown in the development of new actions in this area experienced during the last two years, which has been reflected in the growth of global energy demand by 2% in 2017 compared to 2016, the fastest increase of this decade, driven by economic growth and behavioral changes. Advances in energy efficiency fail to curb the increased use of energy in many countries, regions and sectors. As a result, overall primary energy intensity only improved by 1.7% in 2017 (the slowest rate in this decade).
However, according to the IEA, the global demand for energy would be much greater had the development of energy efficiency not occurred. Since 2000, improvements in efficiency have prevented a 12% additional energy use and emissions in 2017. The industry has been the largest contributor to energy savings, particularly in the main emerging economies, although buildings have made a greater contribution in advanced economies.
Regarding Spain, the IEA analyst explained that the improvements in energy efficiency since 2000 saved and additional 9% in energy use in 2017. The sectors of industry and services and the sector of transportation of goods and people, contributed almost 75% of the total energy use savings.