The energy agenda under the G20 Presidency of Japan focuses on the theme of “accelerating the virtuous circle of environmental protection and economic growth by innovation”. Through the Energy Transitions Working Group (ETWG) and Environment Senior Officials Meeting, G20 countries are working together to progress energy transitions that achieve “3E+S”: energy security, economic efficiency, and environmental safety. In this context, energy efficiency represents a crucial pillar to the G20’s efforts in facilitating these transitions, in particular in securing a more sustainable energy future in a cost-effective manner.
Five years ago, in 2014, under the Australia’s G20 Presidency, the G20 made the decision to place energy efficiency on the G20 agenda. As a result, the G20 Energy Efficiency Action Plan (EEAP) was adopted. In 2016, under China’s G20 Presidency, this collaboration was reinforced in the G20 Energy Efficiency Leading Programme (G20 EELP) – the G20’s first long-term plan for energy efficiency up to 2030.
The on-going implementation of the G20 EELP plays an essential role in accelerating G20 countries’ joint work to support and advance the design, acceleration and enactment of national energy efficiency policies and programmes – boosting their productivity, growth, and prosperity. This solid foundation provided by the G20 EELP led to the endorsement by most G20 members of the 2017 G20 Action Plan on Climate and Energy for Growth under Germany’s G20 Presidency, containing the G20 Energy Efficiency Investment Toolkit. Argentina’s G20 Presidency in 2018 further consolidated the accumulated accomplishments by bringing crucial elements to the G20 agenda that will contribute to the success of energy efficiency policies, in particular behaviour change initiatives.
Over the past five years, the energy efficiency initiatives under the G20 (called ‘Task Groups’), coordinated by the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC), have been tackling a diverse range of energy efficiency challenges that are of global importance while demonstrating the value of international cooperation. These initiatives focus on the following topics that are a priority for energy efficiency improvement:
- Developing innovative solutions to the challenge of rapidly increasing energy consumption by networked devices.
- Developing effective energy efficiency policies in the buildings sector, with a core focus on building rating systems and building codes.
- Implementing world-class policies to improve energy, climate, and health outcomes of transportation, in particular for HDVs given their disproportionate emissions impacts.
- Supporting energy efficiency improvements in conventional electricity generation by encouraging the understanding and dissemination of High Efficiency Low Emissions (HELE) technologies.
- Encouraging greater energy efficiency uptake in industry by sharing best practices and technical resources to promote Energy Management Systems (EnMS) and the implementation of the ISO 50001 EnMS standard by sharing tools and best practices on the use of EnMS.
- Accelerating the deployment of highly efficient products that are driving global electricity demand.
- Enhancing robust, investment-grade policy frameworks in G20 countries to significantly increase energy efficiency investments as required by the global energy transition and broadening overall G20 engagement with private sector financial institutions on energy efficiency.
- Compiling energy efficiency best practices (BPs) and best available technologies (BATs), for use by policy-makers and businesses, to help accelerate the widespread application of these and further technological innovations.
- Sharing technical information, enhancing communication, outreach, training and capacity building on the issue of energy end-use data and energy efficiency metrics that are required for good policy development, implementation and evaluation.
G20 economies are encouraged to sustain the progress on behaviour change made under the G20 Presidency of Argentina in 2018 and to explore more innovative social approaches to improve energy efficiency across various sectors. The potential of adopting socio-economic approaches and emerging behavioural science and behavioural economics theories to lower energy demand, GHG, and other emissions continues to be substantial.
Japan’s G20 Presidency continues to support these collective efforts at the global and regional levels. Since energy transitions thrive on a virtuous circle of environmental protection and economic growth, G20 members are continuously encouraged to give further impetus to innovation that is required at many levels such as the product, business model and societal levels. In addition, public and private research and investments in innovation need to be scaled-up to enable economic growth within the constraints of the environment, and the cost effective delivery of the global energy transition.
Accelerating innovation and investment in clean technologies is critical to bridge the existing gaps that have been identified between current policies and future policies. It is essential for ensuring environmental sustainability in a timely way. For G20 economies, greater investments in low-carbon technologies and disruptive innovation are key elements that can enable the significant scale-up of energy efficiency and will further increase the impact of the G20’s work under the G20 EELP. In addition, these innovative investments can be earmarked to help improve the transparency of their contribution to the sustainable development goals, enhance overall economic resilience and increase financial flows, and strengthen the competitiveness of companies operating in the environmentally-conscious economy of the 21 century.