Developing countries and energy efficiency potential: Strategies for low-carbon ...

31 Mar 2017

Developing countries and energy efficiency potential: Strategies for low-carbon development after the Paris Agreement

By Pierre Langlois, P. Eng, President, Econoler and Audrey Yank, Jr. Eng, M.Sc., Technical Expert, Econoler

Just before the COP22 was held in Marrakech, the Paris Agreement entered into force. The agreement calls for a shift to a clean, low-carbon economy across the globe. To meet the ambitious climate change mitigation objectives set, we are all challenged to act boldly and rapidly.

The Paris Agreement also requires developed countries to support developing countries through financial and technical assistance. Among the possibilities to be leveraged with such international support, strategies focused on energy efficiency definitely deserve wider application to enable countries to achieve their mitigation goals as well as the transformative, long-lasting institutional changes necessary to create favourable contexts for energy efficiency implementation. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy efficiency is a highly effective tool for achieving low-carbon development and one of the lowest-cost options to reduce GHG emissions. The World Bank also considers energy efficiency an area with tremendous potential for action to achieve both GHG mitigation and local development.

In this context, Econoler (a world-leading Canadian consulting firm with over 35 years’ experience in energy efficiency, initiated a project in partnership with the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) and funding support from Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), to examine how energy efficiency can play a major role in helping developing countries reduce their GHG emissions and achieve broader development goals.

As part of this project, Econoler developed a methodology to select countries where energy efficiency can have a significant impact on economic development and climate mitigation. This process involved:

  1. Assessing developing countries against a set of carefully selected indicators related to development level, total annual energy consumption and GHG emissions, interest in and commitment to pursuing energy efficiency at the national level, political stability and corruption level allowing for or hindering the best leverage of energy efficiency per dollar invested;
  2. Shortlisting countries which were identified as having significant potential for achieving important GHG emission reductions and development gains through energy efficiency; and
  3. Selecting five countries from the shortlist for additional research, namely Morocco, Vietnam, Senegal, Ghana, and Burkina Faso.  

These countries plan to seize a number of opportunities and undertake energy efficiency with clear targets, despite a short history in working on energy efficiency in some cases. Capacity-building, increasing energy efficiency in power generation, residential and institutional sectors, and reducing the energy intensity in main industries are common themes among the planned upcoming initiatives. Based on the findings of this initial research, a second phase is envisaged to examine in detail how these countries can benefit from a comprehensive energy efficiency plan and identify the lessons to be learned from other developing countries that have so far been most successful in implementing energy efficiency initiatives and achieving good results. This project aims to develop a better overall understanding of the barriers and possible solutions related to creating favourable contexts for the optimal implementation of energy efficiency by developing countries to fulfill their Paris Agreement commitments.

For the full-length article, click here.


Mr. Pierre Langlois, President of Econoler, has over 30 years of experience in working in all energy-efficiency-related fields in Canada and internationally. He has worked in over 60 countries for numerous international financial institutions, multilateral and bilateral development agencies, government bodies and energy efficiency agencies, and funds specialised in supporting energy efficiency.

Ms. Audrey Yank is an energy efficiency specialist with Econoler. She has extensive experience working on projects related to climate change and energy efficiency, as well as impact analyses of energy efficiency programmes in the residential, commercial, industrial and institutional sectors. She holds a Master of Science degree with a specialty in biomass energy. As a bioresource engineer, she has also worked on energy efficiency projects in the agricultural and food-processing sectors in Canada and several developing countries.

Econoler is a Canada-based international firm actively involved in developing and implementing climate change mitigation strategies and projects in support of Canadian and international initiatives. Econoler has over 35 years of experience in working in more than 130 countries, with 80% of them being developing countries. It has to date implemented over 3,000 energy efficiency-related assignments for international financial institutions, bilateral organisations, dedicated environmental funds, governments and utilities. The focus of Econoler’s work includes institutional frameworks, policy and legal framework design, implementation and evaluation, project development, and financing mechanisms. For more information, click here.