Columnists: Rod Janssen, Independent consultant

Published on: 14 Nov 2010

Recipe for change


Take 20 top organisations, shake them up and see if they coalesce around a mutual cause. That’s what’s going on in Brussels these days and eceee is happy to be part of it. There really are not too many cooks to spoil the broth. The Coalition for Energy Savings has recently been created to shake things up and get energy savings on the menu.

The objective of saving energy through greater efficiency is not even an à la carte selection although it should, by rights, be the most obvious standard fare… not as a rare delicacy or a special dessert. It should be part of the pièce de résistance that delivers three toques to energy policy. But it has been difficult to get it on the main menu at a price that people are willing to pay.

Curiously, people are often willing to pay billions for unproven technologies and approaches. A recipe for disaster, if you ask me. Yet there is nothing unproven about energy savings through improved energy efficiency. Most of the ingredients are off the shelf and affordable. But the uninitiated tend to regard it as a bit bland and unenticing – like the soup your grandma made. Nice, but so old-fashioned.

Nothing could be further from the truth. But, part of the problem is that we live by the philosophy of ‘you get what you pay for’ and the low price of efficiency measures makes energy saving seem like a lowly amuse-gueule to seriously expensive servings of nuclear plants or other big technologies.

Aside from the reverse price problem, it has been difficult enough just getting efficiency on the table. No economic recovery package includes it. No energy infrastructure package includes it. They are focused solely on big construction – a half-baked approach, I’d say.

This is the backdrop for the creation of the Coalition for Energy Savings – a blend-and-mix of perspectives to promote efficiency, designed to spice up the image of energy savings and certainly to turn up the heat.

The Coalition consists of 20 organisations covering the spectrum from manufacturers of products – everything from energy efficiency technologies to consumer goods -- to major environmental groups; and with eceee, Europe’s largest not-for-profit organisation promoting energy efficiency, binding them together.

The Coalition, while barely out of the kitchen, has already arranged meetings and communications with senior Commission officials, met with Council and Presidency officials, and has run advertisements in Brussels press. It is arranging a pot-pourri of other events and activities. Who knows, the Coalition may even bang on a few pots and pans to get energy savings heard and understood.

And with the winter season upon us, there is nothing like a heart-warming stew of wholesome ingredients. Who can resist?

Watch the Coalition for its savoury recipes for the future. As good as grandma would have cooked up, and just as sensible!

The views expressed in this column are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the views of eceee or any of its members.

Other columns by Rod Janssen

Oct 2016

Apr 2016

Nov 2011