Skip to main content

International Energy Efficiency Expert

For many decades, the energy efficiency community has done its best to explain, define, refine and highlight the multiple benefits of saving energy in our modern society. The EE community has never stopped promoting cost-effective technologies, formulating local or national policies or exploring new ideas to exploit the enormous energy saving potentials that exist in all sectors of the economy.

Over the past fifty years, energy efficiency activities have had their ups and downs, but overall energy efficiency has continued to progress in people’s minds and in reality. Energy efficiency, like innovation, is a never-ending process. There is always a way to innovate more or find a way to save more energy. In 2022, the reasons to continue to promote more energy efficiency are even more important than they were 5, 10 or 20 years ago. Climate change is unfortunately part of our daily lives. The only way forward to reduce climate change is to completely decarbonize the global economy. We only have a few years left for this. All countries are concerned. Every activity must become carbon neutral. We are witnessing a rapid, unprecedented and remarkable development of renewable energies. However, and despite the massive investments we are seeing today in clean energy, fossil fuels remain the dominant fuels in our economy. Meeting the growing demand for energy services through energy efficiency is simply not being properly considered.

In 2022, the mitigation chapter of the IPCC introduced the notion of energy sufficiency. Sufficiency is defined as “avoiding the demand for materials, energy, land, water and other natural resources while delivering a decent living standard for all within the planetary boundaries.” Suddenly, energy efficiency discovers its twin concept. The combination of energy efficiency and energy sufficiency generates energy savings and the associated greenhouse gas emissions. Energy sufficiency becomes the safeguard against the Jevon effect, also called the rebound effect. Indeed, energy efficiency gains have often not translated into the expected energy savings, due to the rebound effect. In 2022, the French government embarked on a strategy to reduce national energy demand by 10% by 2024 through energy self- sufficiency. The French population is invited to reduce their energy demand by changing their behavior at home, at work, in their purchases and on the road. Combining energy efficiency – as we know it – with energy sufficiency – which we may need to discover and embrace – is a sure way to reduce the absolute demand for energy, which is exactly what we need to make sure that renewable energies will not come in addition to the mix in the energy supply, but as a substitute for fossil energy.

There has never been a better time to save energy. Global energy prices are facing historic highs and could remain high for a long time. The higher the price, the more profitable energy efficiency policies and investments are. Greenhouse mitigation to decarbonise the economy must be achieved within the next three decades to have a chance of staying below 2°C warming. Energy efficiency provides a good portion of the potential GHG reductions in all economies. Unfortunately, despite all we know about the need to decarbonize, about the multiple benefits of energy conservation, we continue to fail to engage energy efficiency decisions and investments at the necessary level. A priority is therefore to continue to describe the nature of energy efficiency and what it can bring to mitigate GHG emissions. Combined with energy sufficiency, energy efficiency is the best ally for an impactful deployment of renewable energies.