During its 7th Global Energy Efficiency Conference hosted in Denmark, the IEA has sought to convince policymakers worldwide of the merits of energy efficiency policies while providing a policy toolkit to go with it.
Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said:
- Energy efficiency is a critical solution to so many of the world’s most urgent challenges
The IEA explained:
- Doubling the current global rate of energy intensity improvement to 4% a year compared to today’s policies would save 95 exajoules a year, the current annual energy consumption of China
Additionally, the doubled ambition would cut fossil gas use by 650 billion m3, 4 times the EU’s imports from the Kremlin.
But this relies on getting politicians outside the Global North on board.
Birol told attendees, noting that the current situation went far beyond the 1970s oil crisis:
This is the 1st global energy crisis the world is facing
This crisis may well be a turning point in energy policy in the years to come
Should policymakers succeed, the IEA promises massive consumer savings, coming in at $650 billion a year.
But for Russia’s №1 customer, the EU, there may be yet another incentive to help make Russian fossil fuels obsolete.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU imposed a number of sanctions against the Russian regime.
But the bloc had primarily refrained from imposing sweeping sanctions on energy imports from the Kremlin, which make up a large part of the country’s income.
As of August, a ban on Russian coal will come into effect, and the bloc will ban shipped Russian crude oil and refined oil products from 2023.
Achieving this has made cracks in the unity of the EU’s 27 states apparent.
With leaders of Austria, Belgium and Germany making their distaste for a possible embargo on Russian fossil gas very clear, energy efficiency could work as a quasi embargo.
Dan Jørgensen, the Danish energy minister, said:
- Energy efficiency is key for us to be less reliant on Russian oil & gas
- It’s one of the things that we can deploy in a short term and there’s a huge potential
Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said:
- No matter how hard we work on rolling out renewables and finding alternative suppliers, reducing reliance on Russia would require energy efficiency
- We will not find sufficient volumes to replace Russian gas on the global markets
Simson said energy efficiency was already at the heart of the Green deal, but the recent energy price crisis had again changed the «payoff time for energy efficiency measures», she added.
«The EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive and its revamp of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive would play a crucial role» in reducing the EU’s dependence on Russia and further the fossil fuel phase-out at the same time, she told EURACTIV.
Additionally, the EU’s COVID-19 recovery fund would go towards furthering energy efficiency.
The Commissioner noted:
- Many EU countries have told us that they aim to further energy efficiency through the recovery fund