The United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) United for Efficiency (U4E) hosted a regional energy efficiency seminar for Latin American countries in parallel with OLADE Energy Week 2022. The event took place in Panama City on 13-14 December 2022 to highlight the importance of energy efficiency as the foundation for tackling the current global climate and energy crisis.
Organized by the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), the Energy Secretariat of Panama and the Inter-American Development Bank, with the collaboration of EnergyNet, Energy Week 2022 focussed on energy security and brought together governments, companies, academia and energy companies from the 27 OLADE member countries, along with international agencies, to discuss collaborative opportunities to address the issue globally.
Energy efficiency is the starting point for any initiative seeking to improve energy security in the region. Most of the older products in use, and even newer products being sold today, waste a large amount of electricity, leaving consumers, businesses and governments with fewer energy resources to use for other priorities. Outdated technologies strain power grids, create more air pollution, and negatively impact the climate compared to energy-efficient alternatives. The rapid and steady increase in sales, coupled with long lifespans of up to 40 years for some products, means decades of wasted electricity, unless energy policies are enforced around the world.
In the context of the global climate and energy crisis that we are experiencing, now is the time to ensure that highly efficient products dominate the market and become the norm. This transformation will enable billions of families to save money on their utility bills, enable businesses to prosper through increased productivity, enable utilities to respond to growing electricity demand, and assist governments in achieving their goals. economic and environmental.
To improve understanding of the benefits of an energy efficient market transformation and the tools that are available to achieve it, the U4E seminar shared the experiences and results of the implementation of projects undertaken in the region, with the financial support of the Green Climate Fund, so that other countries can profit from the valuable lessons learned and adopt energy efficient and environmentally friendly appliances and equipment in their respective countries.
Topics discussed at the seminar included:
- An update on the uptake of policies, regulations and programmes in the region for the adoption of energy efficient and environmentally friendly products
- Presentation of the tools that U4E makes available to countries to facilitate the adoption of ambitious energy efficiency policies, such as the updated country savings assessments
- Presentation of the best international practices in support policies, such as monitoring, verification and compliance, sustainable public procurement and product registration systems
- Experiences and lessons learned from the implementation of integrated energy efficiency policy projects such as Brazil’s commercial refrigeration project, Chile’s domestic refrigerator replacement programme and the multi-country air conditioning equipment project in Cuba, Honduras and El Salvador
During the two days of the seminar, it was notable how engaged all the country representatives were in the discussion, actively voicing their particular issues and taking note of the lessons learned by those countries which have already implemented energy efficiency programmes. The presentations from manufacturers, such as Daikin and Mabe, on new products, technologies and solutions added depth to these discussions and provided insights into the next steps in energy efficient product development.
In addition, time was set aside for bi-lateral meetings to explore opportunities for the development and financing of projects to transform markets towards energy efficient and environmentally friendly products. These led to detailed discussions with several countries on developing national projects but also enabled discussions on the possibility of a regional project where countries can work together to maximise the benefits achieved.
Participants in the seminar were also able to attend the energy efficiency included in the programme for the main OLADE Energy Week 2022 event. This explored more broadly the development of sustainable energy efficiency strategies and the current status of investment in energy efficiency investment in Latin America, and highlighted the importance of energy efficiency as a fundamental element in achieving energy supply security, as well as improvement in the productivity and competitiveness of countries in the region. U4E’s Programme Manager, Paul Kellett, was one of the panellists for these session, alongside other international energy efficiency experts and Government representatives from the region. He was also privileged to be invited to take part as an observer in the high-profile Meeting of Ministers on Thursday, 15 December 2022. This meeting is a key component of the annual Energy Week and is the highest instance of governance within OLADE’s organisation.