Policymakers need to incentivise energy management

17th April 2012


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IEMA

Governments must create clear plans supporting the adoption of energy-efficiency systems like ISO 50001, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA)

In its latest guidance for policymakers, the IEA argues that country-level energy management plans that place obligations on organisations to adopt energy management systems and provide support mechanisms for industry, are needed if governments are to succeed in encouraging greater energy-efficiency.

According to the IEA, energy-efficiency measures have the potential to cut worldwide industrial consumption by 26%, but barriers, including access to finance for projects, subsidies masking the full cost of energy and uncertainty in future legislation, are stopping businesses from adopting them.

Citing the approaches of successful policies from individual governments, the IEA highlights the importance of consultation with stakeholders, to ensure energy management actions align with other policy areas, and developing support measures, such as guidance documents, tools and best practice networks.

The document describes the approach of linking incentives to voluntary energy-savings agreements, which have been adopted by Denmark, Sweden and Ireland, and have resulted in high uptakes of energy management systems (60%, 50% and 25% respectively). It also highlights the German policy of allowing businesses with an ISO 14001 or EN 16001 (ISO 50001) certificate to gain financial incentives.

“When energy management systems are embedded within wider energy-efficiency agreements, they often enable greater energy savings than what companies would be able to achieve with the agreements on their own,” said Dr Jigar V Shah, executive director of the Institute for Industrial Productivity, co-authors of the report.

Bo Diczfalusy, director of sustainable energy policy and technology at the IEA, said: “Globally, industry could by 2030 cut energy use by the equivalent of the current annual electricity consumption of the US and China combined. Much of this potential can be captured through energy management. However, this requires the development of effective policies.”

The report forms part of a series describing how governments can implement the IEA’s 25 energy-efficiency policy recommendations, which include requiring large, energy-intensive companies to conform to 50001 or an equivalent energy management system.

The IEA’s recommendation is weaker than that outlined in the draft EU Directive on energy efficiency currently being examined by member states, which would require all large businesses to implement a 50001-like system and for it to be audited every four years.

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