What’s Undermining Energy Efficiency?
Exhilaration swept through the energy efficiency industry as city after city, state after state and nation after nation set aggressive energy saving goals over the last several years. But with target dates nearing in certain jurisdictions, a more sober attitude now permeates. Some governments are asking: Are we reaching too high? A global report issued this week by PwC, which looks into the minds of power industry executives, suggests the worry may be justified. Called "The shape of power to come," the annual report emerged from interviews with senior executives at 72 power companies in 43 countries. It found that a good number (45%) of executives are dubious that we will reach energy efficiency targets by 2030.
Meanwhile, PwC also says North America and Europe may be heading for a blackout watch. Remember those? Such warnings sprang up during the pre-recession era of heady economic growth. With economic recovery, the risk of power shortages again rises, as worldwide energy demand expands from 17,200 TWh in 2009 to over 31,700 TWh in 2035.
Energy efficiency is widely seen as the cheapest way to meet at least some of the new demand. But the report cites two significant problems that hinder efficiency efforts. The first is fossil fuel subsidies; the second is human nature.
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Target image via Energystar