Sønderborg Action Plan: Global promise to energy efficiency

By Rhonita Patnaik

Published: Mon 13 Jun 2022, 4:36 PM

Last updated: Mon 13 Jun 2022, 4:42 PM

Located in Denmark, near the Baltic Sea and close to Germany, the municipality of Sønderborg has worked on a dual ambition for 15 years: to mitigate emissions backed by a carbon-neutral energy system by 2029 — and to inspire the world on how to achieve this in a robust and cost-effective way.

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We think of thermostats when they think of energy efficiency. Of opening the windows when it is nice outside, and closing the blinds when night falls in order to save energy. And that is exactly what energy efficiency can be – but it’s also much more.

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) new analysis states that it is going to cost more in the long run, if we don’t increase our efforts on energy efficiency globally, than if we do. In fact, if we double our efforts this decade, we have the potential to save upwards of 95 exajoules or 2.638889 ×1013Kwh.

Recognising the importance of energy efficiency and a promise to work to increase it globally, the International Energy Agency’s 7th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency in Sønderborg concluded last week.

“The joint statement and Sønderborg Action Plan are international acknowledgements of the importance energy efficiency holds and a promise to work to implement and increase energy efficient solutions and technologies globally. If we share our knowledge and experiences – as we have done here in Sønderborg – we can work to minimise our energy consumption and optimize our work towards climate neutrality and energy independence,” says Dan Jørgensen, minister of climate, energy and utilities.

In addition, energy efficiency has great potential as abatement for the skyrocketing energy prices, creation of green jobs, lowering bills, and last, but not least, strengthen energy security. Now more than ever – with an energy crisis right here in Europe and a climate calling for global action – we need to focus on energy efficiency.

“The IEA started the Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency seven years ago in order to drive a high-level worldwide discussion on an area that we saw was not getting the policy attention it deserved. This conference has shown the value of these efforts, not just in bringing together energy and climate leaders from around the world – but also in increasing ambition and action on efficiency to help tackle the global energy crisis. I believe we will look back at this conference as a key moment for bolstering international progress on energy efficiency, resulting in reduced energy bills for citizens, enhanced energy security for countries and lower emissions for our planet,” says Dr Fatih Birol, IEA-director.

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