As with other productive resources, efficiency in the field of energy refers to the relationship between results and resources, energy in this case, used to achieve them.
In macroeconomic terms, the energy efficiency is analyzed through the concept of energy intensity, calculated as the ratio between the energy consumption of an economy and its gross domestic product (GDP). That is, it shows the amount of energy required to produce one unit of GDP in the economy.
Despite the importance of improving energy efficiency for sustainability objectives economic and environmental, the historical evolution of this variable is not always satisfactory.
For example in Spain, between 1990 and 2011 a breakthrough in improving final energy intensity is observed, it is true that since 2006 this indicator has decreased significantly and the trend seems to be holding.
However, you can see how the energy intensity for the EU-27 has improved much faster than Spain thanks in part to the pace of decline in countries such as Ireland or UK .
In relation to energy efficiency and the challenges of the energy model, it can make a decisive contribution to the fight against climate change, to improving energy security and competitiveness. He even posed for governments recently as an important driving force for economic development and employment.
In relation to climate change, according to the International Energy Agency (EIA), to reach the 450 ppm scenario, necessary to limit the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius and reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in 2050 nearly 50% compared to 1990, energy efficiency is presented as the main instrument accounting for nearly 60% of emissions reductions.
Energy efficiency is presented as a crucial element in the fight against climate change.
On the other hand, policies to reduce energy consumption have an important positive contribution to energy security. In the area of demand policies, the energy efficiency is the main instrument for enhancing energy security. Reducing energy consumption helps to reduce energy intensity of the economy and foreign dependence.
Through these elements, the inflationary pressures generated by rising international prices of energy raw materials are also reduced.
By efficiency plans that countries are implementing, energy efficiency is the tool to reduce system costs, without losing competitiveness, focusing much on energy efficiency in buildings, in order to remove obstacles to rehabilitation and regeneration.
From the point of view of electricity generation, this plan reduces incentives for renewable energy, which slows the process to undertake the objectives set by Europe in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
But on the other hand, to promote energy efficiency, the model improves, reducing energy consumption and preventing unnecessary CO2 emissions, helping to achieve the objectives in relation to these reductions in greenhouse gases.
For example, you can refer to the initiative launched in UK called Green Deal, for which it is intended to facilitate the owners of urban and rural households the opportunity to invest in improved energy nature in their homes, in order to improve energy efficiency.
In this program, the user does not pay for the initial investment in the project, but may qualify for funding to undertake the investment. Gradually, the project is financed through the bill, assuming that projects that this savings offset payments for repayment of the initial financing will be undertaken.
The government hopes that this plan reaches 14 million households and 2.8 million businesses, of 2030, which is estimated to foster 65,000 direct jobs to be played by people who are properly trained.
In addition, you must have the indirect jobs that occur as a result of reduced energy consumption and the reallocation of household expenditures on other goods and services.
In short, with business opportunities and employment, energy efficiency is key in the fight against climate change and increase energy security.