Energy efficiency solutions in rapidly urbanising regions
Urbanisation in the developing world
Driven by the prospect of a better quality of life, the world’s communities are increasingly headed towards urban centres of economy that offer improved prospects for education, work and security. The world’s urban population is projected to increase by 72 per cent over the next four decades, climbing from 3.6 billion in 2011 to 6.3 billion in 2050.
The majority of this urban growth is expected to take place primarily in the less developed regions of the world. There is already a trend for this; developing countries such as Brazil, Mexico and South Africa have had an urban majority population for several decades, and China and India are fast catching up. However, the growth potential in these regions is at risk of stagnation due to major energy supply issues, including rising energy deficits, the limited utilisation of renewable energy resources, an increasing dependence on imported fuel and inadequate energy infrastructure.
Tackling energy management issues
A constant energy supply is essential for cities. Vital services such as water distribution, sewage pumping, street lighting and municipal facilities (including offices and hospitals) operate around the clock, 24 hours a day. If the supply of electricity is interrupted, city populations must endure blackouts that disrupt livelihoods and industrial activity. Developing countries are further inhibited by existing issues such as inefficient city planning and management along with obsolete technology and infrastructure.
In cases where energy supply is strictly limited and there is no way to increase supply to meet demand, energy efficiency solutions provide a clear path to sustainable growth. Every 1 USD invested into energy efficiency can reduce energy supply costs by 2 USD, making energy efficiency a more sensible investment than simply expanding existing energy supply infrastructure.
Developing countries that tackle their energy management issues early will have a strategic advantage in accommodating economic and urban population growth, as they will need to spend less on energy supply than countries without such investments. These measures also lead to greater energy security, giving private businesses the confidence to invest in new projects and expansions, which in turn spurs economic growth.
The potential of energy efficiency
TÜV SÜD’s energy efficiency projects for municipalities and industries have helped numerous stakeholders worldwide. We have developed our own Energy Efficiency Standard, a certified method for assessing the energy efficiency of machines and equipment. Utilising our techniques, city stakeholders have achieved clear reductions in energy consumption – by as much as 50 per cent in some cases – and annual returns on investment of up to twice the amount spent on consultancy. By containing energy costs, stakeholders are able to focus their spending on other essential services such as education and healthcare instead, leading to a greater quality of life for all urbanites.
Find out our approach to energy efficiency for developing nations in our white paper "Keeping the lights on in developing cities" by clicking on the button below.