Shift in Energy Balance Includes Renewables, Efficiency

Editors note: when I read this, and then watched the videos from the WEO launch (included for your viewing pleasure below) it took all my self control to not jump out of my chair and scream "BOOYEAH".  And yes, I even thought of calling some EE non-believers out there and booyeah-ing them, however I'm a lady first and foremost, so I kept my glee to myself. 

Now, more from Dee...

All of us here at the SJVCEO have been preaching to anyone who will listen about the power of energy conservation. Well, now we can back that claim up with some pretty substantial clout. The International Energy Agency (IEA) released the 2012 edition of the World Energy Outlook (WEO) on November 12th. In that report the IEA states that North America leads the shift in global energy balance. That shift includes a movement to renewable energy and energy efficiency that will have a major impact on global energy and climate trends. North America is at the forefront of a sweeping transformation in oil and gas production that will affect all regions of the world, yet the potential also exists for a similarly transformative shift in global energy efficiency. According to the WEO, we can achieve energy savings equal to nearly a fifth of global demand in 2010. In other words, energy efficiency is just as important as unconstrained energy supply, and increased action on efficiency can serve as a unifying energy policy that brings multiple benefits.

The report calls out six areas that need to be addressed in order to make the “efficient World Scenario,” a scenario that shows what energy efficiency improvements can be achieved simply by adopting measures that are justified in economic terms. The steps include making energy efficiency clearly visible along with its economic gains, as well as including efficiency concerns into decision making in government, industry, and society. The IEA report urges policy leaders to deploy a mix of regulations to discourage the least energy efficient approaches, while incentivizing the most energy efficient actions.

The report also projects that renewable energy sources could become the world's second-largest source of power generation by 2015, closing in on coal as the primary source by 2035. The projection noted that this is based on continued subsidies, which amounted to $88 billion in 2011.

--Dee Cox

photo credit: International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2012,