He leaves the water running. He leaves the fridge door open. He never turns off the computer.
Photo credit: ENERGYHOG.org
Unlike Babe, Piglet or Wilbur, this swine is not cuddly or cute and has probably frightened more than one child into breaking bad energy habits.
Adults recently got their reminder about the importance of efficient energy use. It came from the International Energy Agency (IEA), although you may not have heard it as the organization’s prediction of American near energy self-sufficiency by 2035 got all the headlines.
Seemingly lost in the shuffle of its annual world energy outlook which was released in November 2012, was the IEA's assertion that energy efficiency is just as important in our world as unconstrained energy supply.
The IEA contends that improvements in energy efficiency could save us the equivalent of one-fifth of 2010’s global energy consumption by 2035.
However, two-thirds of the economically viable options to improve energy efficiency are likely to remain unrealized through to 2035 unless policy makers act smarter. If they do act, energy efficiency gains would cut the growth in global energy demand in half.
This means global oil demand would peak before 2020 and would decrease by nearly 13 million barrels a day by 2035 - a reduction equal to the current production of Russia and Norway combined.
Oil sands development
As an energy intensive business, oil sands developers are well aware of the opportunities associated with energy efficiency and are already taking the IEA’s advice.
Suncor, for example, has set an environmental performance target to boost energy efficiency. Energy efficiency also figures prominently in the company’s climate change plan, which includes the development of an energy efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation roadmap for three of its oil sands facilities. The roadmap will quantify potential GHG emission reductions from technology, and operational improvements in energy use, at the company’s bitumen mining, in situ and upgrading facilities
The extent to which policy makers embrace the IEA’s energy efficiency message remains to be seen. Perhaps the Energy Hog can scare up the necessary support during a visit at night.