How can energy efficiency help meet renewable energy targets?


How can energy efficiency help meet renewable energy targets?


It seems counter intuitive, but increasing energy efficiency can help meet renewable energy targets.  The easiest way of describing it is by way of an example.

Say company Z wants to meet 30% of its energy needs from renewables and uses 100 MWh per year.  If the company installs a biomass boiler that produces 15 MWh of energy per year they have only reached a 15% target.  However, if the project is combined with an energy efficiency project to insulate the buildings and install better heating controls which drops the annual demand to 50MWh, the biomass boiler now contributes 30% of the energy requirements (15MWh out of 50MWh).

In this way most energy efficiency projects will help increase the level of renewables already in existence by reducing the requirement of non-renewable energy sources.  There is one proviso however, if you install an energy efficiency project that reduces the level of energy required below that already being produced by renewables, then you will reduce the amount of renewable energy produced and hence the % of renewable energy.
So the best combination is a mix of energy efficiency projects and renewable energy projects.

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