Energy efficiency traditionally has been regarded as something only
rich economies could afford. But given today's tremendous energy
needs in the developing world, especially in Pacific Asia, it has
taken on a new importance. Energy efficiency has emerged as a
valuable resource that addresses the Pacific Basin's multiple goals
of efficient capital investment, improved productivity, economic
growth, and environmentally sustainable development.
Between the years 2000 and 2010, China's gross domestic product
(GDP) is projected to grow by 7 percent per year. The GDP of Asia's
other developing nations probably will grow 5.2 percent during the
same period. This strong economic development will create huge
increases in both commercial and industrial energy demand. Demand
also will come from consumers, who increasingly are using cars,
refrigerators, and other energy-consuming tools of modern living.
Bangkok, Southeast Asia's largest city, had 600,000 registered
vehicles in 1979. By 1993, it had almost 3 million. The number is
rising almost 11 percent per year, according to the International
Institute for Energy Conservation. Only 40 percent of Bangkok
households had refrigerators in 1980; a decade later, 90 percent
Commercial demand for oil
The World Bank estimates that developing countries now consume
about 80 million barrels of oil equivalent per day just for
commercial purposes. By the year 2010, the figure will grow to 100
million barrels. By 2030, as much as 200 million barrels of oil
equivalent per day will be required to meet developing countries'
commercial demand. While the Pacific Basin needs new energy and
power supplies, satisfying the burgeoning demand creates four key
*Investing capital wisely.
*Fostering economic growth.
*Sustaining the environment.
Only energy efficiency can meet these challenges and help the
Pacific Basin meet its energy needs.
Productivity. Energy efficiency is far different from the energy
conservation of old. Conservation practices began in an energy
crisis. They called for sacrifice: turning down thermostats,
running factories at partial capacity, and other measures that
hampered productivity. The efficiency ethic means getting the most
out of every unit of energy. Rather than turning down the heat, it
focuses on producing efficient heating and air conditioning
systems. Rather than idling factories, it focuses on installing the
best and most efficient process controls, motors, and other
equipment. Today's energy efficiency is a combination of good
technology and best practices to improve residential comfort and
enhance industrial productivity.
Capital requirements. The United States Agency for International
Development projects the annual cost of developing countries'
energy projects at $100 billion. According to the US Energy
Department, developing and transitional countries could save almost
$2 trillion by 2025 if they pursue an energy-efficiency development
strategy, which typically costs half of what it takes to build new
capacity. Energy efficiency does more than save money - it offers a
handsome return on investment. …