05/12/16 : Elizabeth Mayes

EE Global Continues with Day Two Opening Plenary: Doubling Energy Productivity Through Government Leadership

Alliance to Save Energy president Kateri Callahan opened day two at the 9th annual Energy Efficiency Global Forum with a morning plenary session, Doubling Energy Productivity Through Government Leadership. The session, featuring thought leaders from diverse industry sectors, provided important insight into international efforts to advance energy efficiency and double energy productivity. Read on for a recap and to learn about the potential for the significant roles of energy productivity and government leadership in achieving the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

The commencement of the plenary saw the announcement and display of the three winners of the Solutions Showcase video contest: Lockheed Martin, Power America Technology and Danfoss, with Callahan noting that the Alliance is always pleased to honor companies that are leading the way in energy efficiency innovations. The Alliance also extends a warm congratulations to all companies and organizations that participated in the Solutions Showcase -- all of whom are contributing to energy efficiency innovation.

Callahan was pleased to invite Mark Kenber of The Climate Group to the stage in order to continue the forum’s ongoing announcement of the EP100 campaign, an initiative focusing on garnering commitments from businesses to move toward doubled energy productivity. He also announced that Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., Johnson Controls and Covestro had recently joined as foundational partner companies of EP100. She reminded the plenary audience that although we have made significant energy efficiency inroads, the road ahead will require determination, grit and collaboration between industry leaders and stakeholders. She expressed confidence that together, utilities, regulators, legislators and companies can lead by example and move the needle on energy efficiency.

Callahan reminded the audience of President Obama’s challenge to the United States to double energy productivity, explaining that the opportunities and rewards for doing so are vast. She touched on key strategies for doubling energy productivity, specifically citing appliance standards. She told the audience that the United States is currently set to avoid three billion tons of carbon emissions through appliance standards alone. This, she explained, will help consumers and businesses save hundreds of billions of dollars while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gases harmful to the environment.

She finished by providing updates of exciting developments from the Global Alliance for Energy Productivity, including the recent appointment of Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All as its new steering committee chair.

 

Plenary Session Discussion

Next, Callahan was joined onstage by her esteemed group of panelists: Dr. Fatih Birol, executive director, International Energy Agency (IEA); Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All); Odon de Buen, director general, Comisió Nacional para el Uso Eficiente de la Energía (CONUEE), Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group and John Galyen, president, North America, Danfoss.

 

Dr. Fatih Birol, executive director, International Energy Agency (IEA)

Dr. Birol started off the plenary discussion by describing the role of government and business in improving energy productivity and energy efficiency, explaining that cooperation between these two segments will help lead us to achievement of the Paris climate agreement. Energy efficiency and renewable energy, he explained, are the two most important areas to invest in for a future in which achieving long term sustainability goals will be possible. Dr. Birol went on to explore the great potential that exists in emerging countries in terms of energy efficiency, emphasizing that the key to realizing this potential is to implement existing energy efficiency technologies rather than focusing on implementing new ones. He also touched on the key benefits to be gained from such advances, specifically citing increased air quality and lowered pollution. He concluded by explaining IEA’s goals for energy efficiency and government: “Energy efficiency is at the heart of our strategy here at IEA,” he said. “Our goal is to make it a number one priority for governments as well.”


Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary of Secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All 

Rachel Kyte began her remarks by explaining that a collective shift in mindset regarding energy efficiency will be one of the first and most important problems to solve, saying: “The challenge for us will be to look up and out to see how energy efficiency can become the norm.” Only then, she explained, will the global economy be in balance with our world. Importantly, she explained, we must focus on helping political leaders see energy efficiency as the best option available. Stakeholders must begin to recognize the benefits of embracing energy efficiency, such as dollar and energy savings, and the risks of failing to do so, such as increased costs and pollution.


Odon de Buen, director general, Comisió Nacional para el Uso Eficiente de la Energía (CONUEE)

Odon de Buen emphasized the role of government in incentivizing business to implement energy efficiency practices, citing Mexico as an example. The country has drafted legislation that includes 15-30 year goals for energy efficiency and has established 30 mandatory efficiency standards that are supported by more than 60 accredited testing labs. The standards, he explained, along with energy policy reform, have had significant impact on energy efficiency: in 2015, the average electricity use equaled that of 25 years years ago and the Mexican economy has saved the equivalent of 20 billion dollars in 20 years.

 

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group

Mark Kenber, having just announced the EP100 campaign on day one of EE Global, expanded on the strong business case for doubling energy productivity. He gave a specific recommendation to implement in order to meet Paris climate goals: improving energy productivity by 3 percent per year, globally. Energy productivity, he explained, can save two trillion dollars and create six million jobs by 2020. He also pointed out that energy productivity will reduce the cost of meeting the Paris climate goals. In addition, he explained, since energy efficiency is at the heart of energy productivity improvements, it should be thought of as an infrastructure investment.

 

John Galyen, president, North America, Danfoss

John Galyen discussed the role of energy efficiency in buildings, exploring the ways in which business can lead the pack in this area. He provided insight into the distinct roles of business and government in achieving doubled energy productivity and discussed insights gained from collaboration between Danfoss and various governments around the world. Agreeing with Dr. Birol, he emphasized that technologies to double energy productivity already exist, and that all that is left to do is to simply deploy them. In short, he explained, “It is time for us to talk the talk and walk the talk.”

 

A fruitful session

Each of these thought leaders, bringing a rich array of unique perspectives and experiences, provided a deepened understanding of the role of government in increased energy productivity. Attendees gained insights into the important role of energy productivity in improving the bottom line in business, decreasing the effects of harmful greenhouse gases, and procuring cost savings for consumers, governments and businesses alike. Audience members left with a renewed sense of urgency toward the aim of improving energy productivity through government leadership.