Global commission targets energy efficiency

Friday, 12 July, 2019

Global commission targets energy efficiency

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has formed an independent global commission to accelerate the transition to clean energy via stronger policy action. The IEA Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency will be chaired by Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, supported by government ministers, business executives and international thought leaders.

New Zealand’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) has welcomed the establishment of the commission, with NZ Energy Minister Dr Megan Woods joining as a founding member.

The IEA said that energy efficiency has a central role to play in meeting global sustainable energy goals, hence the establishment of the group to prioritise global policies on energy efficiency.

The IEA estimates that with the right policies, the global economy could double in size by 2040 using broadly the same level of energy as today. The policies alone would enable the world to achieve more than 40% of the emissions cuts needed to reach international climate goals using cost-effective technologies already available. The problem is that policy implementation has slowed and efficiency progress is weakening.

IEA Executive Director Dr Faith Birol said, “It is imperative that we get global energy efficiency progress back on track.”

EECA Chief Executive Andrew Caseley said EECA analysis showed that widespread uptake of energy efficiency measures could have a big impact on the electricity system, freeing up capacity for electrification of transport and process heat, and cost savings for households.

“Proven technologies like LEDs, efficient heat pumps for water and space heating, and efficient motors can all make a massive difference in our energy use,” said Caseley.

“New Zealand’s electricity grid is already powered by an 80–85% renewable energy system. Energy efficiency could play a big role in getting that higher and increasing capacity in the system.

“It’s only a matter of time before we need more electricity for charging electric vehicles as they become more widespread, and many industrial boilers using oil and gas are replaced by electric boilers. Getting clever about our energy use through efficiency will be key to ensuring we’re as low-emissions as possible,” he said.

The new energy efficiency panel will focus on key policy actions that can be taken by all countries. A concise list of clear, actionable recommendations is set to be produced next year.

Image credit: © Mango

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