Global energy plans for double efficiency at IEA conference

The countries in attendance at the 8th Annual Conference by the IEA set out plans to double energy efficiency and bring the world ever closer to net zero

Are governments doing enough to provoke a large enough impact on the current climate situation? 

Energy decarbonisation and efficiency are the key topics for organisations and governments, which directed the conversation at the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 8th Annual Global Conference.

In a nutshell, ministers from 45 governments across the world pledged their allegiance to the planet once more as they set targets to double the energy efficiency improvement to meet the climate change target of 1.5 degrees. This is a crucial action that will determine how the global energy sector reacts to climate change, accelerating electrified means of transport and operation, and encouraging net-zero emissions at the earliest possible opportunity. 

Here’s what Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA had to say, and we’ll also assess some of the data present in its ’Energy Efficiency - The Decade for Action’

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of energy efficiency for strengthening energy security and keeping the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 C within sight, so I’m delighted that countries from across the world are uniting around the IEA’s call to double energy efficiency progress by 2030,” says Birol. 

“This can help drive stronger momentum behind efforts to achieve an ambitious outcome at COP28 in Dubai.”

Energy efficiency improvements as per IEA research

The IEA collated some crucial data on energy efficiency improvements across a variety of regions and its latest report collates this following its 8th Annual Global Conference. This data shows the general trends in energy efficiency, with a slight—as to be expected—from 2020 to 2021, but a 2.2% increase in improvement in 2022. 

Forecasts also suggest that this must exceed 4% energy intensity improvement to achieve net zero from 2021 to 2030. The Stated Energy Policies Scenarios (STEPS), which highlights the current policies in place, show more than 2% improvement, but the Announced Pledges Scenario  (APS) as per the latest conference agreement sets a trajectory of 3% improvement for the same period. 

The IEA acknowledged the great strides taken to recover pre-pandemic levels of efficiency improvement, but also shared concern that the current actions would not make the necessary improvements by the climate deadline while obtaining equity for those without reliable access to energy for the basic lifestyle functions.

Energy demand growth in major regions 

The IEA’s report also touches upon the level of energy demand growth year-on-year. At a glance, the main changes to be expected by the end of 2023 is a similar level of oil usage globally, but while demand falls in most countries, the Asia Pacific region (APAC) is expected to undo much of this fossil fuel reduction when compared to 2022. 

When it comes to gas, demand will stabilise overall, however, it’s important to recognise that Europe’s gas dependence change will be closer to zero, which could be a result of its substitution for coal—as the least carbon intensive form of fossil fuel. Despite the growing electrical infrastructure, it’s also anticipated that electricity will sustain its growth, which is surprising considering the emphasis on electrified vehicles and the increased investment in renewables. 

A key piece of information to put alongside these would be renewable energy and nuclear power, as these are expected to meet 90% of the increased demand, which would otherwise be taken up by fossil fuels. 

To read the full report and follow the IEA for more industry updates, click HERE

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