From megawatts to negawatts

The first priority in order to ensure the energy transition in the best way is to reduce energy consumption. Reducing this consumption contributes to decreasing the dependence on energy supplies and to eliminating the corresponding CO2 emissions, together with all other environmental impacts resulting from the production and use of energy.

Within this context, any investment in reducing energy consumption is most suitable for resolving all the problems previously mentioned. Each watt saved while keeping the same level of satisfaction for the final user represents what can be called a 'negawatt'1. A negawatt has a higher value than an additional watt, because it can help to provide the same use or service, while avoiding the negative impact upon the environment of a supplementary production of energy. Replacing 'megawatts' by the production of 'nega-watts' is a most sensible choice, whenever it is possible.

The efforts in this area are very sensitive to the price of energy. The first and then the second oil crises led to the setting up of energy saving policies throughout the world. The subsequent counter oil crisis has resulted in a detrimental demotivation.

1 The association Negawatts has been created in France for promoting this concept.

Presently, the risks of climate change represent a strong supplementary reason for reinforcing energy conservation.

The actions which are required concern both consumption modes and the technologies to be implemented. They need to be set up at three levels:

- Avoiding the waste of energy.

- Adopting new organisation and consumption modes that are less energy intensive.

- Investing in energy conservation technologies.

Investments in the area of energy conservation are also an excellent choice in economic terms, as they represent protection against future increases in the price of energy.

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