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Energy Efficiency More Important Than any Other “Fuel,” IEA Reports

Energy Efficiency is Right There for the Taking!
Energy Efficiency is Right There for the Taking!

With all the focus on renewable energy and alternative fuels, it seems that improving the energy efficiency of the technology we already have has fallen by the wayside.

According to the International Energy Agency [IEA], energy efficiency is the world’s most important fuel, and small investments into improving energy efficiency have a huge impact, reducing fuel consumption, reducing emissions, and saving money.

In a recent edition of the IEA Energy Efficiency Market Report, researchers assert that investment in energy efficiency could provide even more savings than any other form of energy generation. The report went on to say, “the scale of recent investment in energy efficiency worldwide makes it as significant in its contribution to energy demand as investment in renewable energy or fossil fuel generation.”

One of the problems with energy efficiency though, is that it’s pretty hiding in plain sight, right in front of everyone that uses any form of energy. The bigger problem is that our recent investments into energy efficiency have been forced on us. Instead of taking the initiative, we have the tendency to wait until the problems caused by our inefficient use of energy catch up with us.

Take, for example, the recent changes in legislation regulating light vehicle fuel economy and emissions. This actually started back in the 1970s, after the OPEC Oil Embargo jacked up the price of petroleum. Now that climate change has been linked to human activity, fuel economy and energy efficiency regulations are becoming even more strict. Interestingly, we’ve had the technology to make a 100mpg vehicle for decades. Even the Ford Model T, in 1908, got around 26mpg.

Energy efficiency is right in front of us, are we too complacent to just reach out and grab it?

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  1. LoneWolffe wanderfireThank you.  Excellent.  That is terrific. You may be interested in this.   I  found this quote but would like to see a full chart with the underlying numbers:  “America has the largest efficiency reserves in the world.” (NRDC, Unlocking the Power of Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Fact Sheet, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York, New York, December 2008)  If you happen to come across any charts like this that compare energy efficiency to say, coal or nuclear or natural gas or renewables, that would be of considerable eye brow raising interest.  There is an IEA figure forecasting the cost of clean energy at http://www.global-warming-forecasts.com/cost-climate-change-costs-global-warming.php ($140 trillion by 2050).  
    One thing that I don’t think is emphasized enough is this:  Conventional and renewable power generation sources (from nuclear to natural gas and  geothermal to solar thermal) all cost money, whereas, energy efficiency is the only supply choice that saves you money.  

    All the best,

    RNV Ventures

  2. wanderfire From the speech and release of the report [which is available for $110/€80], located at http://www.iea.org/newsroomandevents/speeches/131016EEMRDaeguLaunchSpeech.pdf i gleaned the following actual quote from the IEA: “We are taking a new perspective to energy efficiency with this report; treating it as we would any other energy resource. Indeed, it joins our Market Report series along‐side more traditional conceptions of fuel sources: oil, gas, coal, and renewables.”
    Page 5 has a great illustration and says, “the energy savings from efficiency measures exceed the output from any other single fuel source in a sub‐set of 11 IEA countries in 2010. Energy efficiency investment has already delivered significant reductions in energy demand.”


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