Cost of energy inefficiency

Energy, Regulation & Policy    Sep 18, 2019 3:35 PM

Colombia has sought to improve its energy efficiency in recent years, but little progress has been made in this area. The Energy Mining Planning Unit (UPME) conducted a study on the cost of energy inefficiency in the country.

According to El Tiempo, UPME estimates that the energy inefficiency cost is around US$6.6B or CoP$22.4T. The entity said that if the industrial, residential and service sectors invested in better available technologies, they could save this amount.

Ricardo Ramírez, Director of UPME, said the country only uses efficiently 31% of all energy consumed. The study revealed that these four sectors consume 1,077,921 terajoules per year, but these industries only use 338,351 efficiently.

The entity said that just the transportation sector alone could generate savings of US$3.4B. Ramírez explained that this saving potential was calculated considering the most efficient technology available to achieve the same mechanical energy in vehicles.

“When we compare a conventional fuel vehicle with an electric one, we found inefficiencies in heat loss and mechanical transmission,” Ramírez said.

The residential sector could generate savings of up to US$1.6B per year, using low efficiency technologies in heating systems, especially in air conditioning. Another alternative for improvement is to replace old refrigerators with modern low-consumption refrigerators, pointed out the UPME.

The entity said that useful energy only equals 17.8% of the total in the residential sector, as this industry consumes 259,503 terajoules per year, but only 46,182 terajoules are used efficiently.

The UPME said that the industrial sector efficiently consumes 55% of the total demand, as this sector reported useful energy of 151,943 terajoules per year, while the total consumed was 251,712 terajoules.

Alejandro Lucio, Director of Óptima Consultores, said that the industrial sector has savings opportunities in long-term energy efficiency projects. However, he said that this industry has a very short-term vision on this issue.

Bottom-Line: Authorities play a key role in encouraging energy efficiency through incentives and programs to motivate technology change. The potential for improvement is huge on this issue, but the government must take the initiative to start seeing improvements in this matter.

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