Friday, February 6, 2015

Energy Efficiency and the rebound effect

Interesting program from Freakonomics Radio, "How Efficient is Energy Efficiency":
It's a centerpiece of U.S. climate policy and a sacred cow among environmentalists. Does it work?

If you didn't pick up on the problem of resistance to acknowledging evidence from energy efficiency idealogues, it's a good time to read a recent (October) article on the topic; one with a more global perspective.

update: A tweet from Geoff Russell noted there is a transcript of the interview, and provided a link to Arik Levinson's "California energy efficiency: Lessons for the rest of the world, or not?" paper (.pdf)

IEA Acknowledges Rebound Effects | Alex Trembath | The Breakthrough Institute:
A reversal in the International Energy Agency’s views on energy efficiency suggests that as much as 2,176 million tons of oil equivalent worth of extra clean energy consumption will be required by 2035 to meet the organization’s aggressive climate targets. That’s the equivalent of 19 Australias’ energy consumption. This finding is the result of a Breakthrough analysis of a new IEA report, which showcased a new position for the agency on what energy experts call “rebound effects” – a hotly contested phenomenon in energy consumption growth.

Rebound effects emerge when increased energy efficiency improves the performance or lowers the cost of energy services, leading to consumer “re-spending,” investment effects, and macroeconomic rebounds in energy consumption in response to lower energy prices. As the IEA writes, “correct accounting for the rebound effect may reduce the potential contribution of energy efficiency to climate change mitigation, possibly altering the relative priority of different CO2 abatement policies.”
The new report marks a major institutional leap forward for the IEA, which until last month had downplayed rebound effects both quantitatively and discursively...
Continue reading at The Breakthrough Institute

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