U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Wind Program

IEA: Shift in Energy Balance Includes Renewables, Efficiency

November 14, 2012

The International Energy Agency (IEA) on November 12 released the 2012 edition of the World Energy Outlook, which noted that North America leads the shift in global energy balance—and that shift includes a movement to renewable energy and energy efficiency. IEA's flagship publication presented a scenario showing that energy efficiency could have a major impact on global energy and climate trends.

The report notes specific steps in six broad areas that need to be addressed in order to make the "Efficient World Scenario," a scenario that shows what energy efficiency improvements can be achieved simply by adopting measures that are justified in economic terms. The steps include making energy efficiency clearly visible along with its economic gains, as well as including efficiency concerns into decision making in government, industry, and society. The IEA report urges policy leaders to deploy a mix of regulations to discourage the least energy efficient approaches, while incentivizing the most energy efficient actions.

The report also projects that renewable energy sources could become the world's second-largest source of power generation by 2015, closing in on coal as the primary source by 2035. The projection noted that this is based on continued subsidies, which amounted to $88 billion in 2011. See the IEA press release and the World Energy Outlook executive summaryPDF.