Energy efficiency improvements have multiple advantages, such as the efficient utilization of natural resources, reduction in air pollution levels and lower spending by the consumer on energy-related expenditure. Investments in EE result in long-term benefits, such as reduced energy consumption, local environmental enhancement and overall economic development. Energy use has environmental impacts, regardless of the source or mechanism.
For example, hydroelectric projects affect their local ecological systems and displace long-standing social systems. Fossil fuel power creates pollution in the extraction, transportation and combustion of its raw materials. The long-term storage of the waste products of the nuclear power industry is an issue yet to be resolved. Cost-effective energy efficiency is the ultimate multi-pollutant reduction strategy.
Many win-win opportunities for EET exist, which can provide benefits in terms of the following dimensions: domestic and global, environmental and economic, as well as benefits for multiple stakeholders in society. There are ways to ensure benefits for all parties, including the government, companies and consumers. Sectors for EE include industries, commercial establishments, households, municipal buildings, as well as transportation and agriculture. The industry category includes such heavy energy users like cement, aluminium, glass, chemicals, and pulp and paper.
EE applies to various human activities like private, public or industrial. Each such activity has an actor who is carrying it out. One actor produces energy, another supplies technology while other actors market or use the technology or make policy decisions. If the central actor wants to introduce EE, he or she needs to contact the other actors to succeed. Many a time, the projects may fail even if the technology is valid and, conversely, may succeed even if the technology is not a sensible one.1
There are three consequences of these developments in EE. First, the EETs will make industries more efficient by improving the productivity of labour, leading to higher growth rates for many economies. Second, these new technologies require less electricity, petroleum products and gas as their fuel. The global demand for these carriers, then, will be less than it would have been without the technologies. Third, the efficient technologies afford business firms the opportunity to become global, moving their operations from one country to another on the basis of local economic and political considerations. As a result of these developments, policy makers should focus attention on the EE.
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