Saturday, October 19, 2013

‘Hidden fuel’ worth hundreds of billions: IEA’s new energy focus

In the debate about the energy sources of the future, fossil fuels and renewables easily steal the limelight. Energy efficiency, however, is far less flashy; languishing in the corners of policy makers’ minds as the ‘low-hanging fruit’, or the ‘hidden fuel’, of the low-carbon future.
But a new report by the International Energy Agency argues we should bring energy efficiency out of the shadows and start seeing it for what it is: the world’s “first fuel,” with a global market already worth hundreds of billions, and with huge energy and emissions saving potential.
The inaugural Energy Efficiency Market Report – released on Wednesday to join the ranks of the IEA market reports for oil, gas, coal and renewable energy – illustrates that 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.
“Energy efficiency has been called a ‘hidden fuel’, yet it is hiding in plain sight,” IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said as she presented the report at the World Energy Congress in Korea. “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?”

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