South-South Cooperation to advance energy efficiency
Mexico supported Honduras in the design of an energy efficiency policy
Improvements in energy efficiency yield significant benefits for climate, public budgets and consumers (IEA, 2021) and they become more essential than ever in the face of the climate crisis and other current challenges in terms of energy security, energy prices and cost of living (IEA, 2022). For example, according to IEA (2021), energy efficiency improvements helped avoid nearly two-thirds of the potential increase in energy demand that could have occurred between 2015 and 2019 due to economic growth.
For this reason, the need to advance in this regard was included in target 7.3 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was approved by the United Nations member states in 2015: “By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency”. Energy intensity, usually defined as the amount of energy used to produce one unit of economic output, is used as the indicator to track progress on this target. Although this is only an imperfect proxy that can be affected by a number of factors not necessarily linked to energy efficiency (climate, structure of the economy, nature of economic activities, among others), Latin-America and the Caribbean (LAC) is the region with the best performance on this indicator worldwide (in 2019, the global average was 4.7 MJ per 2017 USD PPP and 3.3 in LAC). However, the drop over the years has not been as steep as in other regions.
Despite the above, LAC countries show uneven progress regarding energy efficiency. The most significant development is related to policy design in this matter, not only as a response to crises, but as a component of energy policies and planning (ECLAC, OLADE and IDB, 2017).
In this context, between 2019 and 2021, the National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy (CONUEE by its Spanish acronym) of Mexico supported the Secretary of Energy (SEN by its Spanish acronym) of Honduras in the design of its energy efficiency policy. Mexico is one of the countries that stand out in the region for having consolidated its institutional and regulatory frameworks to support energy efficiency activities, and for implementing successful programs in this area (ECLAC, OLADE and IDB, 2017).
Examples include the creation of CONUEE in 2008, in the framework of the Law for the Sustainable Use of Energy (CONUEE’s predecessor, the National Commission for Energy Saving, was created more than 30 years ago) (CONUEE, 2022), the Energy Transition Law of 2016 and the Energy Efficiency Program for the Federal Public Administration. For more than 21 years, the latter has aimed to continuously improve energy efficiency in Government buildings, vehicles and industrial facilities, involving more than 245 entities and offices, more than 7,000 buildings, more than 21,000 vehicles and 11 major industrial facilities (CONUEE, 2020).
Mexico shared its experience in this Program with Honduras through technical exchanges, in addition to topics related to energy efficiency planning and statistics, energy management systems, solar heat for the service sector, high energy consumption patterns and voluntary agreements, as well as regulations on energy efficiency. In this framework, Mexican government officials and company representatives directly involved in projects’ implementation exchanged their experience with their Honduran partners (CONUEE, 2019).
This initiative also included a specific session to share lessons learnt on the implementation and development of technical regulations on solar thermal facilities in Mexico, as well as the experience of the Solar Heaters Promotion Program and the Mexican Official Standard for these heaters (CONUEE, 2021).
As a result of this experience, in June 2021, SEN submitted a Draft bill to Congress on the Rational and Efficient Use of Energy that aims to reduce energy consumption in all sectors through, among other aspects, the modernization of equipment and the generation of public awareness on the rational use of energy (SEN, 2021).
The project, which was part of the 2019-2021 Technical and Scientific Cooperation Program between Mexico and Honduras, was supported by the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID by its Spanish acronym) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Honduras.
Source: SEGIB based on ECLAC, OLADE and IDB (2017), CONUEE (2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022), IEA (2021 and 2022), TrackingSDG7 (2022), SEN (2021), SIDICSS (2022) and UNSD (2022).
Photograph: Matthew Henry in Unsplash