Our Thinking

In Asia, efficiency proves to be cheapest and cleanest energy resource

  • By Aaron Tinjum
  • August 26, 2013

Many Asian economies have experienced tremendous economic growth over the past couple decades. While this economic expansion has brought significant benefits, it has also brought a number of challenges, especially in the region’s increased energy needs.

By 2035, 56% of global primary energy will be consumed in Asia. To address the economic and environmental pressure caused by this growth, many governments and organizations have begun promoting energy efficiency as the most affordable energy resource and a key solution for Asia. Even US embassies abroad are participating.

Efficiency and savings make up over 70% of proposed measures for CO2 abatement in Asia

In line with these developments, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) last month announced it would increase efficiency investments in Asia. This announcement comes after a recent report noted that allocating 1-4% of the continent’s energy sector investments to efficiency efforts could have an enormous impact — enough to offset as much as 25% of the projected increase in primary energy consumption in developing Asia by 2030.

Apart from ADB investments, several governments in the Asia-Pacific region have been pursuing extensive efficiency goals as a matter of strategic importance.

Japan was one of the first countries in the region to seriously pursue energy efficiency. In 1979, Japan established the Law Concerning the Rational Use of Energy amid the second oil crisis. The law has largely formed the foundation for Japanese energy efficiency policies, including its current goal of reducing energy intensity by 30% by 2030 (from 2003 levels).

China has also made significant strides towards energy efficiency. Since 1981, China has pursued serious conservation policies. To date, the world’s most populous country has a national target of reducing energy intensity by 16% from 2011 to 2015. As an indicator of its substantial progress, China even topped the United States in the 2012 international energy efficiency rankings, published by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Additionally, last month, the Singapore government announced that it would allocate around $13 million (USD) to assist small and medium enterprises to improve efficiency. This announcement is in line with Singapore’s sustainability plan and overall goal of reducing energy intensity by 35% by 2030 (from 2005 levels). These goals in energy efficiency will be a major focus of Singapore International Energy Week in October, which Opower is thrilled to be sponsoring.

At Opower, we recognize the growing energy challenges and the vital importance of efficiency in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2012, we joined the China-US Energy Efficiency Alliance to support cooperative efforts to promote efficiency in China. And we continue to build partnerships in the region to help utilities meet their demand-side energy management goals.

Stay tuned for more exciting announcements about our work in Asia!

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