The already sluggish pace of global progress on energy efficiency is set to slow further this year as a result of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, deepening the challenge of reaching international energy and climate goals and making stronger government action critical, according to our annual update on efficiency trends.
Global primary energy intensity – a key indicator of how efficiently the world’s economic activity uses energy – is expected to improve by less than 1% this year, the weakest rate since 2010, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) report, Energy Efficiency 2020, released last week. This is well below the level of progress needed to achieve the world’s shared goals for addressing climate change, reducing air pollution and increasing access to energy.
“Together with renewables, energy efficiency is one of the mainstays of global efforts to reach energy and climate goals. While our recent analysis shows encouraging momentum for renewables, I’m very concerned that improvements in global energy efficiency are now at their slowest rate in a decade,” Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director said at the launch of the report. “For governments that are serious about boosting energy efficiency, the litmus test will be the amount of resources they devote to it in their economic recovery packages, where efficiency measures can help drive economic growth and job creation.”