Transport accounts for another 30% of global energy demand. The implementation of standards for car fuel economy have already saved the equivalent of 2.3 million barrels of oil a day – approximately the output of Brazil. Yet only about 25% of the energy contained in gasoline reaches the wheels of today’s average vehicle, according to US Department of Energy data. Electric cars, with a conversion ratio near 60%, have the potential to increase transport efficiency even more.
Companies that offer cloud computing services could also benefit from the push for energy thrift. "Instead of maintaining energy-guzzling servers, which are often underutilized, companies can let cloud providers that efficiently pool resources run their IT infrastructure," says Sundeep Gantori, an analyst for the CIO. Various studies suggest this could more than halve businesses’ energy consumption.
Another major challenge is trimming waste when transmitting electricity. ABB estimates that 80% of electricity is lost between resource extraction and final use. Such inefficiency is an even more pressing issue in Africa, where power outages are the bane of businesses
Rich and poor countries alike are already cutting waste. The US economy has grown by 150% over the past 25 years, yet energy use rose just 26%. Global energy intensity – the amount of energy used per unit of GDP – improved by 1.8% in 2015, the IEA calculates. But far more needs to be done. Progress on energy intensity needs to be 50% faster than at present to meet the Paris Agreement goals on climate change, according to the IEA. As governments focus on climate, pollution, and energy-security goals, the appetite to invest in companies that help reduce energy waste looks set to increase.