Friday, May 04, 2012

What is undermining energy efficiency?

Friday, May 04, 2012
Exhilaration swept energy savings goals through the energy efficiency industry as city to city, State to State and nation after nation aggressively in recent years. But now permeates with target dates, shortly before the jurisdictions, a sober attitude. Some Governments ask: can we reach too high are?

A global report looks like this week from PwC, which makes in the minds of industry executives, suggests that the concern may be justified. Known as ' the form of power to come', which makes the annual report from interviews with executives at 72 companies in 43 countries. Noted that a good number of executives (45 percent) are doubtful that the energy efficiency goals reach by 2030.

Meanwhile, says PwC also North America and Europe, for a clock, power failure can go ahead. Remember those? Such warnings jumped during the pre-recession period of heady economic growth. With the economic recovery, the risk increases again makes shortages as worldwide energy demand of 17,200 TWh expanded in 2009 to over 31,700 TWh in 2035.

Energy efficiency is widely as the cheapest way to meet at least some of the new demand. But the report cites two major problems hindering the efficiency efforts. The first is subsidies to fossil fuels; the second is human nature.

Fossil fuel subsides create artificial price signals, which can consume us, encourage rather than developing more efficient technologies. Several heads of State and Government, including President Obama, have promised to reduce fossil fuel subsides, but change is slow to come. And time is of the essence according to PwC: "a phase-out of fossil fuels is an impact on energy efficiency in the period up to 2030, there must be good progress until 2020. asked our survey, the likelihood of fossil fuel is leaking subsidies largely by 2020?" Less than a fifth (18 percent) see this as very likely. The overwhelming feeling industry in our survey is that this is unlikely, that such subsidies be maintained. "If this is the case, an important factor to undermine efficiency."

The other problem, human behavior, is a dilemma, which arises from the smart-grid technology. Smart shows meters, energy, and other technologies provide a way for consumers to better manage their energy consumption. But early pilot studies show that most of us have neither the time nor the interest. Or better expressed, the technologies and programs previously offered, have our attention not covered. It is the old saying 'can you lead a horse to the water'.

However, there is reason to believe, we can solve the problem of human behavior, perhaps subsidy lighter obstacle than the fossil fuel. Take a look at the type of research about behavior and energy is done by organizations such as the American Council for an energy efficient or the work in progress by innovators such as energy points. We can determine that the horse to drink is easier than the world to give always allows to fuel up on the fossil.

One thing is clear. The all of the above energy strategies touted by many U.S. political candidates (from both parties) seem something nonsensical. We have no unlimited dollar investment in infrastructure, so that can not possibly continue without setting priorities. And PwC points out, can supplant another a resource - efficiency undermines to push continued fossil fuel subsidies. All of the above leads to only some of the above, and the winners are not necessarily the most cost-effective or environmentally friendly. To achieve our energy-efficiency targets, we need some tough decisions - a scarce commodity in an election year.

ELISA is a long-time energy writer. Can find her work on

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