IEA: Global energy efficiency improvements must double by 2030

IEA: Global energy efficiency improvements must double by 2030

Despite recent progress, energy efficiency needs to double to above 4% by 2030 to align with a Net Zero Scenario, says the International Energy Agency (IEA). Achieving this level of energy efficiency improvement would deliver a 190 exajoule (EJ) reduction in global energy demand and eliminate 11 gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 emissions from fuel combustion, which is equivalent to almost one-third of current global energy consumption and emissions. 

Global energy demand grew by around 1% in 2022, although, the IEA notes that this would have been almost three times higher had it not been for current progress on energy efficiency. 

The IEA held its  8th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency in Versailles, France, from June 6-8, 2023. The invitation-only event, co-hosted by France’s Minister for Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher and IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, attracted ministers and CEOs from 80 countries. 

The IEA conference focused on accelerating global energy efficiency improvements. Progress on efficiency needs to double between now and 2030 if the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C is to remain achievable, says the IEA.

A special briefing was published to coincide with the Versaille event, Energy Efficiency: The Decade for Action. The document indicated that global energy efficiency progress reached 2.2% in 2022, twice the average improvement of the preceding five years. Energy efficiency investment is expected to reach record levels of USD600 billion in 2023, irrespective of a recent slowdown in growth due to the impact of the cost of capital on new projects.  

Doubling efficiency delivers additional benefits of greater energy security, an additional 12 million jobs and will extend electricity access to more than  800 million people, according to the report.

Birol noted that a strengthening of energy efficiency policies in the past year. “Countries representing over 70% of the world’s energy consumption have introduced new or improved efficiency policies since the global energy crisis began over a year ago,” he says.  “We now need to push into a higher gear and double energy efficiency progress by the end of this decade.” 

If governments can implement their announced commitments both fully and with expediency, this will deliver three-quarters of the doubling goal. However, increasing energy efficiency two-fold will require an increase in efficiency-related investment to USD1.8 trillion annually in 2030.

To support countries with strong action on efficiency, the IEA released an updated policy toolkit for governments. The toolkit includes key learnings on how to maximise the impact of all energy efficiency policies and a set of sectoral policy packages that highlight key policies available to governments.