Energy Efficiency: The Key to Address Economic and Climate Change Challenges
On the road to providing energy for the whole economy without significantly increasing carbon emissions and without using nuclear power, energy efficiency is one of the most important companions. Yet, its potential is still underutilized – in Germany as in most countries around the world. How to lift the potential of energy efficiency was the subject of Ecologic Institute’s Riverside Chat on 17 May 2011, featuring Christian Noll, CEO of the German Initiative for Energy Efficiency (DENEFF) and Hans-Joachim Ziesing, Senior Policy Advisor at the Ecologic Institute.
The Riverside Chat was part of a visitors programme on climate and renewable energy for Latin American journalists and political decision-makers from the national, regional and community level, sponsored by the German Federal Foreign Office.
In his initial statements, Christian Noll highlighted the importance of energy efficiency and called it key for addressing climate and energy policy challenges. “The cleanest form of energy is energy that is not used” he said and listed advantages for the whole economy. For example, increased energy efficiency would enhance security of supplies and decrease dependency while consumers could enjoy lower utility bills. Christian Noll also presented the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) claim to reduce energy consumption by 25% until 2050. If given priority, energy efficiency could contribute with 50% to this goal.
In the subsequent discussion with the Latin American delegation, the following issues were addressed:
- The potential of the building sector with near-to-zero energy buildings
- Renewable energy sources in Latin America
- How to move away from traditional energy sources such as fossil fuels and nuclear power
- German policies (such as the German Renewable Energy Act) to promote renewable energy production and consumption
- Institutional and political challenges that Latin America faces in pursuing similar policies.
The group reached the conclusion that regional cooperation in Latin America is essential to promote energy efficiency and increased production of renewable energies. It became clear that increasing energy efficiency is not only an environmental necessity, but also holds important economic opportunities. The participants welcomed cooperation between Latin America and Germany through technical support and best practice exchanges.