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Policy makers and companies explore improving industrial energy efficiency

The inability to identify and assess energy efficiency projects and inadequate price signals on energy markets are key challenges to improving energy efficiency in industry.  Without correct price signals, designing and implementing effective energy efficiency measures that mobilize companies to act is virtually impossible. 

These were the conclusions of 60 business leaders, government officials, academics, and representatives of civil society and international organizations who participated in a workshop entitled Policy Maker Meets the Engineer

UNECE organized the workshop in Geneva on January 18 under the auspices of its Group of Experts on Energy Efficiency.  The intent of the workshop was to highlight communications gaps that exist between policy makers and energy managers within companies.

Representatives of Nestlé (Switzerland), Vardar Dolomit (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), LafargeHolcim (Switzerland), and Voestalpine (Austria) shared their experience in implementing energy efficiency projects and stressed the major obstacles they face in improving energy and resource efficiency. Representatives of SUSI Partners, RobecoSAM, Austria-based utility company EVN AG, the Energy Agency of the Republic of Macedonia, UNIDO, and Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts offered their views on how policy actions could improve energy efficiency in industry. 

The lack of awareness of the potential to improve energy efficiency at every stage and deficiencies in energy markets were the most critical obstacles. A third important barrier is the lack of incentives, stability, predictability, and consistency. These gaps follow from insufficient communication between policy makers and energy managers in industry.

Participants welcomed the opportunity for stronger and more practical engagement between policy makers and companies. Follow-up activities will include: 1) a second workshop in the framework of the Eighth International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development in Astana, Kazakhstan in June 2017; 2) similar workshops at the national level (Belarus, Kazakhstan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Ukraine were mentioned as potential pilot countries); 3) an international workshop on Benchmarking for Industrial Efficiency to be held by UNIDO in May-June 2017 in Vienna; and 4) possible establishment of a working group on “Efficiency First in Industry”. 

It was agreed that the Group of Experts on Energy Efficiency was an appropriate platform to pursue these activities and that UNECE, UNIDO, and the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency would strengthen their cooperation to support them. 

Workshop materials and presentations are available at: www.unece.org/index.php;