Australia is perfectly placed to take advantage of growing demand for energy efficiency products and services in China, in what could be a multi-billion-dollar export industry according to the International Energy Agency’s head of energy efficiency Dr Brian Motherway.

The IEA has just released a report on the state of play of the energy efficiency industry worldwide, and has also announced a stronger focus on energy efficiency in an effort to modernise.

“Our 2016 Energy Efficiency Market Report demonstrates that businesses and governments around the world understand the critical role energy efficiency will play in the transition to a low carbon economy,” Dr Motherway said.

“Not only that, they and are acting on that knowledge, and pursuing cost effective energy efficiency that has benefits well beyond savings on energy bills in terms of comfort, health and productivity.

“This opens up significant opportunities for Australia to tap into the rapidly growing export market for energy efficient products and services, particularly in the Asia Pacific region.”

According to IEA executive director Dr Fatih Birol, the report is the first to tell China’s energy efficiency story in detail.

“It is a story of great progress, achieving huge efficiency gains over the last 10 years, but also revealing the opportunity for China to achieve much more on a path to the efficiency levels of other countries,” she said.

The country saw a 5.6 per cent improvement in energy intensity in 2015, up from an average of 3.1 per cent a year over the previous decade. This was mainly in the industry, services and agriculture sectors. Investment in the country between 2006 and 2014 was a mammoth US$370 billion (AU$490b), with energy savings on par with those produced by renewables.

The rapid improvements in energy efficiency were now at a scale where they were “making a significant mark on global energy markets”, the report found.

In 2014, China saved 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 through energy efficiency, equivalent to the entire emissions of Japan.

However, even with this rapid growth, there still remains enormous opportunity to improve, with the country’s energy intensity still about 50 per cent higher than the OECD average. The Chinese government’s 13th Five-Year Plan sets strong targets for energy efficiency, with a further US$270 billion ($AU358b) expected to be invested over the next five years.

Dr Motherway will be discussing the opportunities for Australia to support the Chinese energy efficiency market at the National Energy Efficiency Conference in November, which will be held in Sydney.

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