Getting Efficient Faster – the SEforALL Accelerators

By Mark Radka, Head, Energy Branch, UN Environment

November 9, 2016

Energy efficiency has come of age. What used to be a dry technical topic debated only by engineers and sometimes economists now finds a place in the speeches of heads of state. There is a growing and deeper appreciation that using energy more efficiently and more productively is a good thing for people and the planet both. Whether the motivation is fighting climate change, having cleaner air, saving money, or improving energy security, more and more people understand that wasting energy makes no sense.

This growing understanding of the benefits of energy efficiency is very welcome of course, but the level of action is still far short of the opportunity. Change is never easy, particularly when it involves investing in new technologies or adopting new practices or requiring others to do so through government regulations. That’s why the concept of energy efficiency accelerators adopted by Sustainable Energy for All is so powerful. The accelerator concept recognizes that successful approaches to improving energy efficiency already exist and that what’s needed is to accelerate the pace at which these good approaches are taken up throughout the world.

Going faster requires joining forces to overcome the many barriers that hinder energy efficiency. The SEforALL accelerators bring together a range of partners that – acting together – can more easily help others move forward. Each accelerator consists of companies with world class technical expertise, non-governmental organizations and industry associations, researchers, governments, and international organizations. This combination of skills, perspectives, and constituencies means that as a group each accelerator is much more powerful than its individual members could ever hope to be. They have a collective voice that is credible and persuasive.

As part of its political commitment to Sustainable Energy for All, the Danish Government provides UN Environment with funding for the Copenhagen Centre for Energy Efficiency – the SEforALL Energy Efficiency Hub. The C2E2 supports accelerators in the areas of vehicle fuel efficiency, buildings, appliances and equipment, district energy, and industrial energy efficiency.

SEforALL has been developing a new strategy and business plan, and with the SEforALL global team we are working on refocusing C2E2’s emphasis onto private sector engagement and delivery, communications, and on the ground operational activities that drive impact, particularly in developing countries and developed economies that have been identified as high impact countries. Most of these countries have included energy efficiency in their Nationally Determined Contributions, and the work of the accelerators and the C2E2 will be evident at COP22 in Marrakech, helping turn national aspirations into reality.