Energy Action Day took place virtually on 16 September 2021, ahead of the UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy, and aimed to accelerate collective action towards net-zero and climate-resilient energy systems. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) United for Efficiency (U4E) initiative was pleased to contribute to the energy efficiency session, Energy Efficiency – Making the Energy Transition Possible. United for Efficiency organized the session together with UN Environment Programme, Cool Coalition, Global Alliance for Buildings & Construction and SEAD Initiative.
This session highlighted the key contribution of energy efficiency as ‘the first fuel’ for emissions reduction, energy security, economic growth, sustainable development, alleviating energy poverty, and for job creation. By sharing the experience of countries and regions who have already started implementing significant energy efficiency measures, it sought to inspire actions to accelerate efforts to deliver energy efficiency improvements in buildings, appliances, and equipment.
The take home message interwoven through all the panel responses is that the most effective change is going to come from an integrated, collaborative approach that brings together Government, the private sector, financial institutions and end users, and one that considers improved regional harmonisation, infrastructure changes and incentives to drive sustainable adoption. The session was moderated by Selvin Brown, Director for Energy Efficiency and Local, Department for Business, Energy & Industry Strategy, United Kingdom.
Jeanne d’ Arc Mujawamariya, Minister of Environment, Rwanda offered an insight into how Rwanda is moving from their National Cooling Strategy and NDC to concrete action through their hosting of the landmark Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold Chain (ACES) and plans for associated Living Laboratories in rural communities throughout Africa that accelerate the deployment of the latest technologies and best practices; the implementation of minimum energy performance standards (which set the most ambitious requirements on the continent of Africa), energy labels, and an online licensing system for monitoring imported room air conditioners and refrigerators to ensure they meet the criteria; and the development of a voluntary, market-based financing scheme with local banks for consumers to access high performance cooling appliances and recycle existing cooling products.
The key role that innovative financing schemes can play in supporting the energy efficiency agenda was elaborated on by Malick Ndiyae, CEO, La Banque Agricole Senegal, who described how ECOFRIDGES Senegal initiative is supporting consumers to install energy-efficient products, including climate-friendly refrigerators and air conditioners. This is a truly collaborative effort bringing together La Banque Agricole, with the national electricity supplier, SENELEC, local equipment manufacturers, Electronic Corp and SENFROID, and the Government of Senegal to demonstrate the commercial viability of an innovative mechanism that is acceptable to Senegalese households.
The fundamental importance of minimum energy performance standards, and the additional benefits of harmonising these at a regional level, was emphasised by Kudakwashe Ndhlukula, Executive Director of the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE). He described the joint East African Centre of Excellence for Renewable Energy and Efficiency (EACREEE), SACREEE, and UNEP U4E collaborative project to develop harmonized minimum energy performance standards for room air conditioners and residential refrigerators for both regions, and how the development of a market for energy efficient lighting and appliances across East and Southern Africa is being further supported by the Energy Efficient Lighting and Appliances Project (EELA), implemented by SACREEE and EACREEE, and coordinated by UNIDO with financial support from the Government of Sweden through SIDA.
The availability of high efficiency appliances that meet the demanding standards that are being developed and implemented is fundamental to a successful market transformation. Jennifer Anderson, Vice President, Strategy, Business Development & Chief Sustainability Officer, Carrier, outlined Carrier’s strong commitment and collaborative approach in this area.
And, of course, the efficiency of the buildings in which all these appliances are housed cannot be ignored. H.E. Dr Pen Sophal, Secretary of State, Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction, Cambodia described how Cambodia is addressing buildings energy demand growth and emissions increase, and how these efforts support the Government’s goals for energy management and sustainable economic development.
To watch a recording of the session or download a full transcript, click here.