Many European countries have responded to the energy crisis by subsidizing consumer bills. This move is understandable, but it does nothing to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Those funds might be better spent on structural solutions like subsidizing the switch to connected LED lighting, heat pumps, electric vehicles, and other energy-saving technologies.
Recent research from the International Energy Agency (IEA) backs up this view. Its analysis found that subsidies for the fossil fuel industry hit a record high of US$1 trillion in 2022, driven by the energy crisis. This extraordinary sum could have been a game-changer had it been directed toward green energy solutions as part of an energy efficiency program.
Data from our own research and analysis demonstrates how a wholesale switch from conventional lighting to LED could play a significant role in conserving electricity, and reducing both energy costs and emissions around the world. Switching all light points in all 27 EU member states to LED could reduce energy costs by €65 billion annually, and lower carbon emissions by 51 million tons per year. Similarly, the US could save US$31.5 billion in energy costs, with the biggest savings in the residential and manufacturing sectors.
Despite its enormous potential, energy efficiency has not played a central role in Europe’s response to the energy crisis. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recently announced a new European Green Deal Industrial Plan aimed at making the EU a more attractive and competitive place for clean tech investment. The announcement is a clear shot across the bow of the fossil fuel industry, but it makes no mention of energy conservation or efficiency.