The United Kingdom is first for energy efficiency – followed closely by Germany, Italy, Japan and France – in a ranking of the world’s major economies from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
The US, which is ranked ninth by the ACEEE out of the 12 economies, has made “limited or little progress toward greater efficiency at the national level,” according to the report, “The ACEEE 2012 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard.”
China ranked sixth, in a three-way tie with the EU and Australia.
For the analysis, ACEEE divided 27 policy and performance metrics across four groupings: those that track cross-cutting aspects of energy use at the national level, as well as the three sectors most responsible for energy consumption in an economically developed country – buildings, industry, and transportation.
Among the recommendations for the US to improve its energy efficiency is the establishment of a national energy savings target. ACEEE noted that most countries analyzed in the report have such targets. Such a policy would raise the bar for the US states without mandatory goals for utility energy savings and complement those states with policies in place.
As well, the report said that more US manufacturers should look to voluntary standards programs, such as the ISO 50001, to gauge and improve energy performance.
Other areas for improvement in the US include the implementation of output-based emissions standards, the retirement of inefficient power plants, increased R&D investment, investments into the electric grid infrastructure and improved financial incentives, such as tax credits, loans and loan-loss reserves, to spur private investment in energy efficiency.
The ACEEE global scorecard is the first to review global economies, but the scoring system applies the same approach ACEEE has used to review energy efficiency in US states. ACEEE looked at 12 of the world’s largest economies, which together represent over 78 percent of global gross domestic product, 63 percent of energy consumption and 62 percent of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
Rounding out the bottom of the rankings, below the US, were Brazil, Canada and Russia.