Energy efficiency is improving

A report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) has found economies are using less energy to grow, especially in China and other developing countries.

The Energy Efficiency Market Report 2016, found that no realistic or affordable energy and climate change policy can ignore energy efficiency as a major component.

Energy intensity, or the amount of energy used per unit of gross domestic product, improved by 1.8 per cent last year. Or put another way, the global economy used less energy to grow.

In 2014, the improvement was 1.5 per cent and this was triple the average over the past decade.

The 2015 result comes on the back of lower energy prices, which shows consumers are committed to reducing energy use despite it being cheaper.

The IEA report says that while much has been achieved, progress is too slow, and set a target of 2.6 per cent energy intensity per GDP.

IEA executive director Dr Fatih Birol said energy efficiency is one energy resource that all countries possess in abundance.

“I welcome the improvement in global energy efficiency, particularly at a time of lower energy prices. This is a sign that many governments push the energy efficiency policies, and it works.”

Efficiency standards now cover 30% of energy use globally, up from 11% in 2000. IEA countries saved USD 540 billion in energy expenditure in 2015 as a result of energy efficiency improvements since 2000.

The report found intensity gains were higher in non-OECD countries and China was the standout in developing nations in curbing their use of energy, achieving a 5.6 per cent energy intensity, up from 3.1 per cent.

According to the report, China’s primary energy demand grew just 0.9 per cent, while the economy grew 6.9 per cent. One country in particular showed significant progress, China, where energy intensity improved by 5.6%.