“Energy efficiency is the cheapest way to meet our energy needs” according to the International Energy Agency. It also has much shorter payback periods than increased use of renewables, according to Capella Festa of the IEA when speaking at our conference last week. Even modest efforts would cut fuel bills by 20%, and add $18tn to global growth by 2035.
Her chart above summarises the potential gains. On current plans, 2/3rds of them will still have been missed by 2035. This is an almost criminal waste of resources, and not just a stupid way to behave in a time of economic hardship and fears about climate change.
Chemical companies could easily be at the forefront of promoting products and services to overcome current apathy. They already have hands-on experience of achieving major savings themselves on their production units. Plus they have a wide range of existing products for key areas such as buildings, power generation, transport and industry.
Less than 40% of the possible savings have yet to be made. And yet as the IEA note, the economic argument is well developed and robust. With the world heading into an L-shaped recovery, efforts to promote energy efficiency should surely be radically increased.