Energy Economics: The Importance of Sustainable use of Energy

free essayEnergy is one of the major single forces that drive the world. Energy powers the world to support life. On this point, it is worth highlighting that the availability of reliable, high-quality, and affordable energy is a key determinant of the quality of economic, social, political, and environmental life. It can be acknowledged that the demand for energy around the world has been increasing with time owing to the increased global population and the development of wealth creation systems that require energy to function. With the need to embrace sustainability, there has been a general trend to use natural resources more responsibly in addition to adoption of renewable, clean energy. This has been realized in such efforts as the harnessing geothermal, wind, hydro, biogas, and solar energy in mega energy projects that have the capacity to provide alternatives to traditional generation through the combustion of fossil fuels. Such energy projects are usually costly thus have significant financial impacts on national budgets and funding organizations. However, it is worth mentioning that there is high wastage of energy in the market due to poor energy management.

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Energy Audit

An energy audit is an assessment of an organization’s energy consumption patterns, production, and electrical and thermal systems with an intention of identifying areas of possible improvement. It also allows to come up with appropriate interventions that can lead to reduced energy consumption and increased efficiency of energy systems. The energy audit can be done in any setting, ranging from domestic to commercial environments. As pointed earlier, the aim of the energy audit is to first identify energy consumption patterns to quantify the actual energy costs incurred by entities with respect to production. Next, an energy audit seeks strategies that the entities can use to reduce their energy consumption and possibly make energy savings. On this point, it is worth highlighting that the proposed strategies of cutting energy consumption and costs may be just a simple behavioral change such as switching off machines and lights that are not in use. Other costly strategies include the development of waste to energy conversion plants that provide not only energy to a company but also sustainable waste management interventions. Lastly, energy audits seek to put in place mechanisms that sustain good energy management practices in an organization such as the development of an energy policy. Impact assessments are required to evaluate the success realized with regard to the implementation of strategies identified in the energy audit. They also provide alternative solutions to ineffective strategies and emergent challenges.

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Importance of Energy Audits

Energy wastage is a rife challenge in various energy applications. Ideally, end users waste up to 30% of the total energy supplied to them. This level is way much higher in some organizations with extremely poor energy management practices. In the light of this realization, it can be acknowledged that organizations stand to save up to 30% on energy costs per payment period. For a manufacturing company, this saving translates to a reduction in operational costs, which has an ultimate effect on the unit cost of manufacture. As such, companies stand to make more profits due to a lower operating cost in addition to being more competitive since they are able to price their products competitively. From another perspective, the efficient use of energy reduces the energy burden on the government and other power generating companies. With reduced consumption as a result of sustainable energy management practices, the national government would be able to save on energy procurement, generation, and transmission costs. Additionally, foreign exchange lost through the importation of energy such as crude oil would be saved. Lastly, effective energy management would enhance a country’s competitiveness. With reduced operation costs, companies operating in a country with a high regard for energy efficient management practices can compete effectively in the global business market since they are able to price their products competitively. From the perspective of a domestic user, efficient energy management practices would translate to lower energy costs, thus leading to better lifestyles.

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Various Solutions

Various solutions enable users to embrace energy efficient operations. As pointed out earlier, solutions may range from cost-free interventions such as the behavioral change to highly costly ones. It is important that companies and domestic users have access to such solutions. For this reason, it is imperative that the government liaises with energy companies around the world that manufacture energy efficient technologies such as light emitting diode lighting, variable speed drives, energy efficient motors, and energy efficient machinery, amongst others. Thus, the government through the ministry of energy and industrialization should liaise with diverse stakeholders in the energy industry around the world to identify potential suppliers of energy efficient technologies.

Capacity Building

There is also a need for capacity building in the country to ensure that the market is well supplied with energy engineers and professionals who would be responsible for conducting energy audits and energy management interventions in the country. The importance of a skilled workforce cannot be underestimated. Energy management professionals should be trained from the national to firm levels. A network of skilled energy management professionals would be critical in the creation and sustaining of an efficient energy management culture in the country. It is worth noting that human resources are crucial elements in the operations of any entity and have a significant influence on its ability to undertake its business processes successfully. As of today, human resources are considered some of the most important assets to an organization. Therefore, it is imperative that organizations, energy departments and other relevant stakeholders should be trained in efficient energy management practices. From the above insight, it can be acknowledged that the government needs to come up with a financial strategy that would make it possible for players in the energy consumption industries to develop the capacity to handle energy management related issues.

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Policy

In line with the need for a highly effective energy management and use culture in the country, there is the need for a legislative framework to enforce and provide guidelines and an appropriate environment. In such a context, it would be vital for the government to explore the options of subsidies, tax reliefs and other incentives that would encourage the use of green energy and make it cheaper to install energy efficient technologies. Policy development should be done by an inclusive team that comprises members from relevant stakeholders.

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Conclusion

This paper has been effective in highlighting the importance of efficient energy management. Energy auditing was identified to be an effective intervention that companies, governments, and individual energy consumers can use to enhance sustainable use of energy. In the essay, it was argued that efficient energy management enables companies to save on energy costs, thus making them more competitive. Moreover, efficient energy management results in the reduction of energy generation costs on the government and the enhancement of better lifestyles to domestic users. It can be concluded that an energy auditing program would be an effective approach in enhancing efficient and sustainable energy use in an organization.