Germany continues to lead the world in energy efficiency, followed by Italy and Japan (tied), France and the United Kingdom.
The 2016 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, published today by the non-profit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), evaluated 23 countries spread over four categories: buildings, industry, transportation, and overall national energy efficiency efforts. Germany scored the most points in the national efforts, buildings and industry categories, while India tied with Italy and Japan for first place in transportation.
Australia ranked 16th, behind Turkey.
Among the most noticeable shift in ranks from the last survey in 2014 is the US, boosted by improvements in energy intensity and energy use per dollar of GDP. The US also benefited from changes to the scoring methodology, which now allocates more weight to policy actions. However, The ACEEE report notes the US still has substantial room for improvement, including in passenger vehicle fuel economy, public transportation and requirements for large companies to conduct energy audits and hire energy managers.
“Despite its leadership on a number of policies, the US falls behind most of the EU countries on our list in addition to China and Japan. The US still has no binding energy savings goals, unlike Germany, France, Japan, and other countries which have a national energy conservation plan in place. The United States could take advantage of existing efficiency opportunities by mandating building energy use disclosure polices and categorical labels for appliances,” the report said.
On a scale of 100 possible points in 35 categories, the nations were ranked by ACEEE as follows:
- Italy and Japan (tied)
- Italy and Japan (tid)
- South Korea
- South Africa
- Saudi Arabia
* not reflecting energy-related government changes in 2016
Together, these countries represent 75 per cent of all the energy consumed on the planet and more than 80 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).
ACEEE executive director Steven Nadel said energy efficiency is often the lowest-cost means of meeting new demand for energy.
“Governments that encourage investment in energy efficiency and implement supporting policies save citizens money, reduce dependence on energy imports, and reduce pollution,” he said.
“Yet energy efficiency remains massively underutilised globally, despite its proven multiple benefits and its potential to become the single largest resource to meet growing energy demand worldwide.”
German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy’s Georg Maue said energy efficiency plays a key role in the country’s energy policy, the Energiewende, which aims to achieve a highly efficient and almost carbon neutral economy by 2050.
“Our latest program, the National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency (NAPE), focuses on innovative industrial processes, energy-efficient buildings and products, and long-term investments. We are happy and grateful that ACEEE honors German efforts in its report. However, we will continue to step up our efforts, as there is a long way to go for us to reach our target of reducing the energy demand by 50 per cent by 2050,” he said.