Efficiency Worth More Than Renewables at $310 Billion, IEA Says

Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) — Investments in measures to curb
energy waste and boost efficiency are overtaking wind and solar
spending and have reached at least $310 billion a year, the
International Energy Agency said.

That’s almost $100 billion higher than investment in
renewable energy in 2013, which amounted to $213 billion,
according to estimates from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Demand dropped as much as 5 percent from 2001 to 2011,
largely due to investments in efficiency, the Paris-based agency
said today in a report, which studied countries including the
U.K., U.S. and Japan. Savings in 11 nations in 2011 were
equivalent to displacing a continent’s energy demand, it said.

“Energy efficiency is the invisible powerhouse in IEA
countries and beyond, working behind the scenes to improve our
energy security, lower our energy bills and move us closer to
reaching our climate goals,” IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said in an e-mailed statement. Cumulative avoided
energy consumption from 2001 to 2011 in IEA countries was larger
than the energy demand of the U.S. and Germany combined in 2012.

Homes and businesses are installing energy-efficiency
measures that include low-energy lighting and insulation to cut
bills by avoiding waste and boosting productivity. Efficiency
had the largest percentage improvement in the residential
sector, where energy demand fell 5 percent from 2001 levels
among the countries studied, the report said.

Cost Reductions

Energy-efficiency improvements in transport may cut fuel
costs by as much as $189 billion a year by 2020. Spending on
fuel is a “key driver” of transport efficiency investment with
global expenditure expected to reach $2.8 trillion in 2020, the
report said.

“Energy efficiency is moving from a niche interest to an
established market segment, with increasing interest from
institutional lenders and investors,” Van der Hoeven said. The
financial market for energy efficiency is about $120 billion a
year, the report said.

There is “huge” potential for energy efficiency in
emerging markets, with Indonesia offering more than half of
Southeast Asia’s investment potential, it said. In limiting the
long-term increase in global temperatures to no more than 2
degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit), the biggest share of
emissions reductions, or as much as 40 percent, will come from
energy efficiency, the report said.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Louise Downing in London at
ldowning4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
landberg@bloomberg.net
Ana Monteiro, Randall Hackley

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