PARIS — The scale of global investment in energy efficiency and its contribution to energy demand are as significant as those of other developed supply-side resources, stated the International Energy Agency (IEA) as it introduced a new report that describes the wide range of energy efficiency activities worldwide in market terms.

IEA’s inaugural Energy Efficiency Market Report notes that energy efficiency markets around the world attracted investment of up to $300 billion in 2011, a level on par with global investments in renewable energy or fossil-fuel power generation.

“Energy efficiency has been called a ‘hidden fuel’, yet it is hiding in plain sight,” said Maria van der Hoeven, IEA executive director. “Indeed, the degree of global investment in energy efficiency and the resulting energy savings are so massive that they beg the following question: Is energy efficiency not just a hidden fuel but rather the world’s first fuel?”

The impact of energy efficiency is shown by the following:

• From 2005 to 2010, efficiency measures saved the energy equivalent of $420 billion worth of oil in a group of 11 IEA member countries.

• Had it not been for energy efficiency measures implemented in past years, consumers in those 11 IEA member countries would now be consuming — and thus paying for — about two-thirds more energy than they currently use.

• In 2010 in those countries, the energy savings from efficiency measures exceeded the output from any other single fuel source. That year, the 11 IEA economies avoided burning 1.5 billion tons of oil equivalent thanks to efficiency improvements developed since 1974. By comparison, in 2010 those same economies consumed about 1 billion tons of oil equivalent from assets developed over the same period.

The report notes that two key factors have driven the recent growth of the energy efficiency market: effective policies and the high price of energy.

IEA asserts that it is clear that targeted energy efficiency policies will continue to play a key role in developing and enabling markets for energy efficiency services and products.

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Publication date: 11/4/2013

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