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Monitoring energy efficiency indicators in the Netherlands in 1999 : Dutch contribution to the project 'Cross country comparison on energy efficiency - Phase 5'
Gepubliceerd door: Publicatie datum:
ECN Beleidsstudies 1-5-2000
ECN publicatienummer: Publicatie type:
ECN-C--00-053 ECN rapport
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The study uses energy efficiency indicators to present and review theenergy efficiency situation in the Netherlands in the last decades. The indicators are calculated along a common methodology, using the ODYSSEE database and national data. Such analysis leads to a better understanding of national developments, because indicators allow for a structured decomposition of the different factors underlying energy efficiency trends, such as structural changes and human behaviour. In addition, indicators are very suitable for international comparison and benchmarking, because they translate absolute levels of energy demand to comparable proportions. On the Cardiff Summit in 1998, the European Commission has decided to use a selection of the ODYSSEE indicators for monitoring the progress of energy efficiency in the European Union. In this report, indicators are used to monitor and analyse national developments with respect to energy efficiency, in all main economic sectors up till 1998. Special attention is paid to the growth in residential electricity consumption in The Netherlands for which the effectiveness of policy instruments and the role of lifestyle trends are elaborated. In addition, an account is given of energy efficiency and environmental policy initiatives in the Netherlands since 1995. In the period 1982-1998, total final demand has increased with 25%. The service sector doubled whereas households remained relatively stable. No remarkable shifts in the fuel mix occurred. The improvement of the final energy intensity since 1982 was 18% (corrected for average outside temperature). Overall energy efficiency has improved most rapidly in the years 1982-1986, with an average annual decrease of the final energy intensity of 2.4%, when fuel prices were high due to the second oil shock, the economy was in a recession, and an active energy conservation policy was carried out. When the prices dropped and the economy recovered, the overall energy efficiency improvement slowed down to an average rate of 0.7% annually. In the residential sector, the rise in electricity consumption per household combined with the stabilisation of the consumption of natural gas per dwelling have led to an overall decrease in energy efficiency after 1990. In a period of economic growth as The Netherlands is currently experiencing, the influence of energy prices is limited. Expressed as a share of disposable income, the energy costs do not impose a heavy burden on household budgets. Therefore the impact of financial incentives such as the energy tax is limited, in particular given the fact that most customers are hardly aware of the existence and height of the tax. Proper feedback on their energy consumption and a clearer presentation of the energy bill could improve on this situation. The purchase and ownership of appliances is closely related to lifestyle trends such as social recognition, individualisation and scarcity of spare time. Energy labels can and do influence purchasing decisions. Offering subsidies (the 'Energy Rebates') on the most efficient models can stimulate the choice of an efficient appliance, although care must be taken that the subsidy signal is not interpreted as an 'approval' of buying appliances. After all, no (electric) clothes dryer is still the most energy efficient option. Not only the penetration rate of domestic appliances is a determining factor in the development of electricity consumption, but also the use (hours of usage) and changes in performance are of importance. These factors are greatly determined by lifestyle trends and customer behaviour, and not easily influenced. 28 refs.

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