A first of its kind collaboration between the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency (C2E2) and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has produced a joint working paper Synergies Between Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency that illuminates crucial synergies that can help to ensure a sustainable global energy future.
The paper finds that when energy efficiency and renewable energy potentials are combined, total global energy demand can be reduced by up to 25% by 2030. Energy efficiency measures would account for half to three-quarters of the total energy savings, with renewables delivering the rest. This is caused by the use of modern renewable energy technologies, such as the adoption of efficient cook stoves which increase conversion efficiency 2-3 times, therefore requiring less fuel; the use of electrification technologies like geothermal or air heat pumps which consume small amounts of renewable power but deliver 3-4 times their consumption of power in the form of heating or cooling; and the switch to power technologies like solar and wind power, which require no thermal conversion and therefore no wasted fuel.
The working paper finds that achieving the renewable objective is dependent on achieving the efficiency objective. Put simply, it is not possible to achieve a doubling of the renewable energy share through renewable energy deployment alone.
The quantitative assessments are analysed using data for eight countries (China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States), which covers half of global energy use. It also shows that increasing the share of renewables results in a higher energy efficiency improvement rate.
The partnership is based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative, which aims to achieve three interlinked global objectives:
- Ensuring universal access to modern energy services.
- Doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.
- Doubling the share of renewables in the global energy mix.
To ensure each objective is met, global agencies were identified to act as “hubs” for the objectives with C2E2 as the energy efficiency hub (objective 2) and IRENA is the renewable energy hub (objective 3). C2E2 and IRENA have partnered to fill knowledge gaps, share new ideas and technologies from countries leading in renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment, and explore the interaction between the two objectives.