Energy efficiency and LED lighting implementation key to achieving Paris Agreement climate goals

Reading time: 6 minutes
21 November 2016

LONDON: The COP22 climate conference, held in Marrakech earlier this month, marked a transition from high-level commitments to concrete actions to tackle the effects of climate change quickly, effectively and at scale. Accelerating adoption of Energy Efficiency (EE) technologies, and LED lighting in particular, have been identified as key elements in achieving the ambitious commitments under the Paris Agreement and transitioning to a low carbon global economy.

A series of key events during COP22, which was held from November 7-18, helped to further highlight the opportunities, as well as the remaining challenges, in scaling up EE technologies, and in particular LED lighting. The first such event ‘What do Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) need to succeed? Energy Efficiency’ was organized by the United Nations Environment Programme’s United for Efficiency project, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) on November 12.

The event highlighted how EE is the most sustainable, cost-effective, and accessible way of reducing carbon emissions whilst providing a wide a range of other social and environmental co-benefits. However, although many countries NDCs mention energy efficiency, they generally lack clear strategies and commitments on how to practically achieve the targets. By raising the profile of this issue, the session presented specific examples where governments and industry organizations have collaborated to successfully implement energy efficiency strategies for appliances and lighting systems.

Particularly in Africa, adoption of energy efficient lighting solutions both for grid connected as well as off-grid applications is key.  Energy efficient lighting for Africa and beyond, an event run by UNEP and the Clean Energy Ministerial, highlighted the crucial role and potential for new policies to drive the transition to LEDs throughout Africa and save over 60 TWh annually by 2030, equivalent to thirty 500MW power plants. Additional benefits also include increased grid stability and the potential of connecting 20 million additional households with the electricity grid.

During the event, the African Global Lighting Challenge (GLC) was also launched. The GLC is an initiative to promote energy efficient lighting and had set the target of reaching 10 billion high-efficiency, high-quality and affordable advanced lighting products such as LEDs around the world. Participants agree to make tangible, specific and bold commitments to advance energy efficient lighting. The Climate Group officially joined the GLC as a partner at COP21 last year and has since helped in driving commitments around municipal LED street lighting globally as part of our ongoing global LED city consultation.

Similar discussions were also held at the event Boosting Energy Efficiency Through Smart Lighting Systems, where Eric Rondolat, CEO, Philips Lighting, highlighted how the scale up of a single technology could halve global energy demand for lighting and cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 5%.

Data presented at the event demonstrated how if global energy efficiency improvements were doubled from the current 1.5% to 3% per year, significant benefits could be unlocked; household energy bills could be reduced by a third, 6 million new jobs could be created by 2020, and €2,300 billion (US$2,458 billion) saved by 2030 in reduced fuel costs.

Peter Curley, Program Manager, LED Program, The Climate Group said: “The prevention of the projected effects of climate change largely depends on our ability to deploy energy efficient solutions quickly and at scale. LEDs need to be high on the priority list of actionable steps for cities and corporations.

Deployment of energy efficient LED lighting in particular, offers unprecedented savings and wider socio-economic benefits. LED lighting is able to deliver energy savings of up 50-70% with a ‘like-for-like’ replacement and up to 80% when coupled with smart lighting and controls. This technology should therefore play a key central role in the transition to a low carbon prosperous global economy.

In 2015 The Climate Group, in partnership with Philips Lighting, called for cities and utilities to adopt LED street lighting - or as efficient - by 2025. We now want to reiterate our call, to accelerate adoption, as we believe that now, more than ever before, adoption of available energy efficient technologies such as LED lighting should be a top priority for governments and stakeholders around the world.”


by Arianna Tozzi, Project Officer, LED Program, The Climate Group

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