The Executive Secretary of the Latin American Energy Organization, Alfonso Blanco, during the dialogue «Boosting energy efficiency: local incentives», organized by Sempértegui Abogados of Ecuador, mentioned some of the actions and barriers that exist around Energy Efficiency (EE) in the region, a space where the panel shared with the Executive Director of the Institute of Geological and Energy Research of Ecuador, Martín Cordovez and Leonardo Beltrán, member of the SEforALL board of directors.
This dialogue was started by the Executive Secretary, Alfonso Blanco, contextualizing Energy Efficiency (EE) as an instrument of energy policy that has the greatest potential in reducing greenhouse gases. «What is done in energy efficiency has a much greater impact on reducing greenhouse gases globally than any other measure that is implemented,» he said .
He pointed out that energy efficiency has a powerful content if it is analyzed from a global point of view, but at the level of local economies, EE contributes to the competitiveness of our productive sectors, to the best use of indigenous resources at the country level and also to energy security.
As well as working on best practices, at the level of final energy consumption by consumers. «EE has great positive externalities that are spread throughout the entire economy.»
With regard to the barriers that arise, the Executive Secretary explains that EE requires long-term policies and encouragement for their implementation, which is why it is required that those policies be maintained, which represents a great weakness in our region. This, since many countries have implemented energy efficiency measures, but have not been able to maintain EE momentum or leadership as a policy instrument, as there are changes in governments that have a different vision.
«We have not been able to consolidate EE as an instrument and a gear in the energy policy of our countries, with some exceptions at the regional level.»
In this context, he indicated that the main barriers that arise in the region are energy prices. «If we have a structure of internal energy prices, which are strongly distorted, we are not providing the necessary economic incentives for EE to be internalized by consumers.»
In his opinion, the Executive Secretary of Olade, Alfonso Blanco, points out that it is essential to internalize the important benefits of energy efficiency in the society in order to gradually overcome each one of the barriers that arise.
As an example, he explained the case of Paraguay that exports large amounts of energy to its neighboring countries and there is a conviction of the Paraguayan citizen that electrical energy is free for the country. Still, society does not internalize the benefits of saving energy and being more efficient in its use. This situation is reflected in many of the oil dependent countries, where, as there is certainty that the country has the natural resource, EE is not strictly necessary.
In Uruguay, the great result was obtained by deriving energy efficiency policies, from a supply crisis, since society as a whole had a perception that there were energy shortages and therefore had to take advantage of the best way that energy.
Therefore, this situation was opportune to enhance leadership by the country’s heads, as an example of this was that the President of the Republic was in charge of giving the message about the importance of energy efficiency.
Currently in Uruguay there are more than 50 energy service companies that provide services to the private sector for the development of EE projects.
In this context, the Secretary emphasized when saying that «if we want to bring down market failures, we must designate a budget for the construction of these public policies.»
For his part, Leonardo Beltrán, member of the SEforALL board of directors, indicated that in Mexico around 30% of the household electric bill corresponds to lighting, a situation in which the Government took advantage of as a great opportunity to reduce the cost of the electric bill, exchanging conventional lighting technology for newer technologies, be they compact fluorescent or LED.
It did so through the design of a program to serve the residential sector and carry out this technology exchange offered by the Government, an action that was an appropriate incentive for both the residential consumer and the actor of public policy.
The Executive Director of the Geological and Energy Research Institute of Ecuador, Martín Cordovez, reported that in the country the National Energy Balance has been prepared with the Olade methodology, a product that is increasingly of interest to decision makers, because it allows to visualize and point to the sectors that have a greater potential in the generation of energy efficiency policies.
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