Enter the search term “100% renewable energy” into Google and you will find fierce debate. Is the possibility of 100-percent-renewable energy a myth? Or is the world already close to achieving this goal?
This debate tends to underemphasize energy efficiency. But recent research makes a case that energy efficiency is important in any discussion about 100-percent-renewable energy.
In August 2017, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) published a working paper, “Synergies between Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.” IRENA finds that energy efficiency can enable a more rapid shift to renewable energy in all countries and sectors.
“Our Renewable Future: Laying the Path for One Hundred Percent Clean Energy,” a 2016 book by Post-Carbon Institute fellows Richard Heinberg and David Fridley, makes a similar argument for holistic energy planning that considers energy efficiency and citizen buy-in.
To approach any 100-percent-renewable energy scenario, improved energy efficiency is needed in both energy-supply sectors and energy-consumption sectors. More than 60 percent of energy produced in the United States in 2016 across all sectors was wasted, according to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, so there is plenty of room for improvement.
Read more (Clean Energy Finance Forum)