Aldo Santillan – Managing Director and Editor in Chief, Energy Capital
In 2008, Dr. Steven Chu, American Physicist, Nobel Laureate, and former US Energy Secretary under the Obama administration, said in an interview with Reuters that for him, one topic would be more than crucial in the future for our world’s sustainability and survival.
Dr. Chu was referring to energy efficiency, since “the biggest gains, in terms of decreasing energy bills, the amount of carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere, and our dependency on oil” would only be possible by putting the pedal to the floor on this concept.
In the same way, several experts and studies gradually showed that energy efficiency not only had positive environmental or savings impacts. Indeed, for some, efficient management of energy can boost renewable energy development as well as generate far more jobs than traditional oil and coal industries.
Studies showing the cruciality of energy efficiency
For instance, in September 2020, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE); revealed that energy efficiency workers are paid on average 28% more than the national median wage.
Furthermore, the association found that a suite of energy-efficient policies could create more than 1.3 million jobs in the US alone. Similarly, the non-governmental organization Alliance to Save Energy shared last year that tax incentive proposals in this regard could create over 600,000 jobs in the country.
Similarly, and as a spillover effect, net-zero climate policies that trigger energy-efficient policies began to proliferate worldwide. For instance, energy efficiency has become a pillar of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Therefore, since 2010 the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have run the ENERGY STAR program. Therefore, the program helps consumers, businesses, and industries save money. Also, protect the environment through energy-efficient solutions.
But what do we mean when we talk about energy efficiency? Efficiency means using fewer resources to perform the same task. In this sense, managing energy in efficient ways means eliminating energy waste during any conversion. So, this can be done through several technologies and design features.
Leveraging the opportunities
In the energy sector, companies can harness this opportunity through improvements in the efficiency of machines. Also in cooling and heat systems, or technologies to consume less fuel. For example, some providers in this regard are ecobee, Alphabet Energy, and Digital Lumens. Also, Enlighted, Gridium, Nest, Nexant, Next Step Living, Opower, among others.
Other measures can also be the insulation of buildings with more energy-efficient facilities; investing in R+D, stop flaring and the use of associated gas, and having a focused operational strategy.
Notably, the health crisis by COVID-19 has weakened investments. Therefore, the attention has shifted from prioritizing energy efficiency matters towards reviving production levels. So, the topic remains crucial for our future.
In resume, energy efficiency is the surest, cheapest, and often most immediate clean energy supply that exists. According to an International Energy Agency (IEA) report; harnessing economically viable energy efficiency investments can boost cumulative economic output through 2035 by USD 18 trillion.