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Role of energy efficiency greatly underestimated, says energy body



The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that energy efficiency has the potential to boost economic growth and sustainable development and not only reduce energy demand, as it is often suggested.

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The so-called ‘hidden fuel’ is “significantly undervalued”, according to IEA, which has argued in a new report – Capturing the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency – that energy efficiency can be an engine for growth.

The organisation notes that under current regulation, two-thirds of the economically viable energy efficiency potential available between now and 2035 will remain unrealised.

This is despite energy efficiency being able to promote sustainable growth and energy security, while also reducing energy demand.

IEA adds that the real benefits of the ‘hidden fuel’ are hard to quantify, when considered for instance that by making homes warmer and drier, personal health and wellbeing are also improved, with considerable savings in personal care – as much as four dollars for every one dollar invested.

IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven said, “This report lays out the case for governments to invest more time in measuring the impacts of energy efficiency policies, to improve understanding of their role in boosting economic and social development and to facilitate policy design that maximises the benefits prioritised by each country.

“By adopting the multiple benefits approach advocated by the IEA in this study, governments can help unlock the potential of energy efficiency.

IEA also notes that investment in energy efficiency is now equal to that in coal, oil and gas and is expected to grow ever more, generating economic output of $18 trillion (£11tn) by 2035.

Photo: Andrzej Pobiedziński via freeimages

Further reading:

IEA: renewable power capacity grew at fastest pace in 2013

Tackling climate change could address economic and social challenges, says report

Energy efficiency helps households battle rising utility costs

EU Commissioners announce 30% energy savings target by 2030

Just three EU countries on track to meet energy efficiency targets


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