The invisible solution
The burning of fossil fuels for energy is the largest single source of global greenhouse gas emissions. So any effort to mitigate climate change must involve energy efficient strategies. After all, the easiest and cheapest clean energy solution lies in the energy we don’t use.
Industry accounts for 38 per cent of global total final energy consumption and around one third of global greenhouse gas emissions
– International Energy Agency & IPCC
Significant focus and attention is needed in the industrial sector, which accounts for more than a third of global primary energy consumption and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.
Current barriers to implementing industrial energy efficient technologies and standards include inadequate information, skills, and methods that assess costs and benefits; distorted market incentives and tariffs; limited access to capital for investment; and outdated machinery and production processes.
By implementing cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities available today, industry could produce nearly twice as much value per unit of energy use in 2040, compared to current levels – International Energy Agency
A large scale shift toward industrial energy efficient practices would enable businesses and industry to massively reduce their power bills, in some cases by up to 30 per cent. In business terms, energy efficiency in industry can increase productivity, lower manufacturing costs, and create more jobs. Such gains can add another 50 per cent in economic benefits on top of direct energy cost reductions.
In emerging economies, and major industries such as mining and manufacturing, potential for energy efficiency remains largely untapped. With the right incentives, investment, policies and energy management systems in place, a vast amount of energy use could be avoided. In China, for example, where industry consumes a vast majority of the nation’s power supply, the equivalent of France and Germany’s energy use could be saved by 2040 compared to current trends. A projected 41 per cent of this ‘saved energy’ could come from China’s industrial sector.
Energy efficiency in the industrial sector can also advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).This includes increased disposable income and economic growth as well as improved local air quality with the associated health benefits. It is also estimated that energy efficiency, more broadly, could achieve nearly half of the emission reductions required to keep global temperature rises below catastrophic levels
With so much potential, industrial energy efficiency presents an ‘invisible solution’ and an extraordinary win-win-win for people, planet and business.