New approaches to unlocking the potential of energy efficiency
September 22, 2020
Global progress on energy efficiency has stalled over the past decade, and yet it is still expected to play a major role in most climate scenarios.
Improvements in energy intensity account for over a third of all potential decarbonization initiatives in the IEA’s Sustain¬able Development Scenario, for example, with a 3% improvement needed each year until 2040 to remain on track. Reality looks different: global energy intensity across all sectors fell by just 1.2% in 2018, half the average rate of improvement seen since 2010.
The focus on energy efficiency is starting to sharpen, however, as a growing number of countries look to invest in infrastructure to help post-Covid recovery, while saving energy and tackling the climate challenge. OGCI is working to accelerate that process – both through the portfolio companies of OGCI Climate Investments, and by proactively sharing best practice among the member companies, and more broadly.
OGCI Climate Investments has invested in six companies that offer powerful solutions for improving energy and carbon efficiency in transport, industrials and commercial buildings. These are areas where the fund can have a large potential impact by identifying innovative, technology-driven solutions that reduce energy use.
- Boston Metal has developed a novel electromechanical manufacturing process that produces metals more efficiently, with lower emissions and lower costs.
- 75F uses predictive automation to make substantial energy savings in heating, cooling and lighting in commercial buildings, while improving air quality to reduce the risk of Covid transmission.
- Norsepower uses modern rotor sail technology to reduce the carbon footprint of shipping.
- OnTruck optimizes the utilization of trucks, reducing empty kilometres and cutting emissions.
- XL offers hybrid and plug-in electrification systems that improve fuel economy and reduce emissions in commercial vehicle fleets.
- Achates Power is developing high fuel efficiency opposed-piston engines.
Energy management: a near-term lever for a net-zero future
As oil and gas companies look to materially reduce carbon dioxide emissions in their own operations, they are taking a new look at the potential of better energy management. In addition to efficiency improvements, they are focused on low-carbon electrification and the integration of off-grid renewables to power their operations. They are also using advanced technologies from data analytics to robotics and machine learning to amplify their efforts.
Energy use is responsible for over 75% of operating emissions for most OGCI member companies and other large oil and gas companies. That’s why, alongside reducing flaring and methane emissions, better energy management is central to achieving OGCI’s recent upstream carbon intensity target. Indeed, for companies that are already making good progress on tackling methane leakage, it is the most cost-effective near-term carbon reduction tool, cutting emissions significantly, while other low-carbon solutions are brought to scale.
OGCI member companies have been at the forefront of introducing metrics and targets that make a stronger strategic link between low carbon and energy management. They are now focusing on the shift in mindset that is required to go beyond energy efficiency and take a holistic look at how to reduce the carbon intensity of energy used in operations.
As OGCI makes progress in this area, member companies are openly sharing knowledge on how to create and implement effective roadmaps for electrification and how best to implement rigorous energy management programmes – initially among the member companies and then across the industry.
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