From the point of view of the International Energy Agency, in order to achieve the climate goals, more energy must be saved – and this must be done faster worldwide. Government representatives from 80 countries will discuss this in Versailles.
Tempo, speed, vitesse – it has to go faster. This is the main message sent by the professionals gathered at Versailles. Brian Motherway is responsible for energy efficiency at the International Energy Agency (IEA). And he sprinkles the word “fast” (“quickly”) into almost every sentence.
“We have to get faster in Europe and worldwide. We have to take concrete action, we need stronger political decisions, more investments, more commitment from consumers – then we can get faster.”
By 2030 energy efficiency double
The big goal – CO2 neutrality in 2050 – can only be achieved if the milestones are right. And the IEA is targeting the year 2030. By the end of this decade, progress in the efficient use of energy must double every year, and investments in energy efficiency must triple every year.
Everyone, Motherway says, needs to shift gears: “When you talk about clean energy, people think solar or low-carbon nuclear, depending on the country.” It’s always about where to get more clean energy. At the same time, we should finally talk about the consumption of energy.
“When do I turn off the lights, when do I turn off the air conditioning, how do I get to work? You can be more efficient everywhere. We can cut costs, we can cut carbon emissions, but we have to do it faster,” Motherway said.
A French company is a pioneer
The French company Schneider Electric is a pioneer in the efficient use of energy. The group, based in Reuil Malmaison near Paris, is a co-organizer of the three-day IEA conference and won the 2020 Davos Award for the world’s most sustainable company. Schneider Electric offers digital tools and technical systems that medium-sized companies, for example, can use to throttle and control their energy consumption.
Philippe Delorme, who manages the company’s European business, sees only advantages in expanding energy efficiency: “There are only jobs that cannot be outsourced. After all, technicians are needed on site. That doesn’t work with someone who is in China or the Philippines. Europe has a huge opportunity to create a green economy with a lot of jobs.”
Renovate many more buildings
The International Energy Agency estimates that there could be 12 million jobs worldwide – provided sufficient investment is made. Experts estimate that if the incentives are right, there could be up to $1.8 trillion annually. Expectations are also and especially high for the EU, says the head of efficiency at the IEA: “At the moment in Europe we only renovate an average of half a percent of our buildings per year. We have to triple that. Some countries are going in the right direction, but it has to go faster,” Motherway said.
More heat pumps sold across Europe
The IEA expressly praises the expansion of heat pumps, which are controversial in Germany. In Europe, sales of this energy-saving heating system increased by 40 percent last year. A start.
Motherway hopes to send out a signal with the three-day conference. We have to act, he says: “We need action. The participants from all over the world should leave Versailles with higher ambitions and better ideas. I hope that the phones will ring hot next Monday, that the governments will call us and say: ‘ We want to make this happen, we need your help.'”