It's still a bit “the poor relation” of energy policies: “efficiency” in transport, industry, housing… must progress, the Agency insisted on Wednesday International Energy Organization (IEA) with decision-makers from 80 countries gathered near Paris.
The world energy crisis has, for the past year, brought the subject of energy savings back to the forefront, as shown by the unprecedented volume of measures and investments undertaken.
But “now we must move up a gear and double progress by 2030”, pleaded Fatih Birol, the director of the AIE, during this three-day meeting at the Palais des Congrès in Versailles.
Efficiency in the use of energy (less energy consumed for the same service rendered) is a climate issue, but also for universal access to electricity, underlines the agency, an offshoot of the OECD .
Some 625 million people remain without power, according to the UN, when two billion others are expected to be added to the world's population within 30 years.
This year, global investments in energy efficiency are expected to reach a record $624 billion, according to an IEA report published on Wednesday: renovation of buildings, public transport, infrastructure for electric vehicles… that's 20 % more compared to 2021.
For example, a quarter of the US administration's Inflation Reduction Act is devoted to it. Japan's Green Transformation Plan focuses on efficiency in buildings, India has adopted an “energy conservation” project, Chile an efficiency law…
On the equipment side, sales of heat pumps grew by 10% in 2022 (+40% in Europe), electric vehicles represented 14% of the total sold (18% expected in 2023) and energy management technologies from the house are developing, but less markedly.
Standards are also progressing, in place in more than 100 countries, has identified the IEA, which cites South Africa where new lamps will have to be equipped with LEDs.
As a result, overall energy efficiency increased by 2.2% last year, four times the rate of the previous two years. However, this is not enough.
This progress should be doubled, increased to 4% per year, to reduce third by 2030 the sector's global energy demand and CO2 emissions, in line with the 2050 carbon neutral scenario intended to protect the world from the worst effects of global warming.
< p>To do this, investments will have to triple, to more than 1,800 billion dollars annually by 2030.
However, “when we talk about clean energy, States still often think of renewables, solar, hydrogen. .. It's important, but we also need to think more about how we use energy,” says Brian Motherway, Efficiency Manager at the IEA.
“It is the poor relation of politics. It is, however, the cheapest and fastest source of energy,” said Jean-Pascal Tricoire, President of Schneider Electric, which is co-organizing the meeting.
At the current rate, the thermal renovation of buildings in Europe will take 300 years, he adds.
The Agency has concocted a “toolbox” for managers, with examples of effective measures and “sectoral packages” (cooking, heating, air conditioning, financing…)
At Versailles, the Ugandan Minister of Energy Okaasai Opolot said how efficiency would be first and foremost a source of “economic transformation” for his country.
For China, it is “the basis of its economic and social development”.
“Over the past decade, China's energy intensity has decreased by 26.4%, and the increase by 3 % of our annual energy consumption has supported economic growth of 6.2%,” said Zhao Chenxin, vice chairman of the Development Commission, who lists actions: renewable boom, improved management of energy production ( including coal, still in development), regulations on buildings and more generally an energy saving policy from the 1980s.
In the EU, the 27 are preparing their national plans to comply to the enhanced ambitions of the Union, said Commissioner Kadri Simson. “They have at their disposal hundreds of billions” of euros from the recovery plan.
A sum that may not be enough. The subject of financing has in fact occupied a part of the exchanges, while the IEA is alarmed by the rise in interest rates.