Market Leadership By Example: Government Sector Energy Efficiency in Developing Countries

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Government facilities and services are often the largest energy users and major purchasers of energy-using equipment within a country. In developing as well as industrial countries, government "leadership by example" can be a powerful force to shift the market toward energy efficiency, complementing other elements of a national energy efficiency strategy. Benefits from more efficient energy management in government facilities and operations include lower government energy bills, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, less demand on electric utility systems, and in many cases reduced dependence on imported oil. Even more significantly, the government sector's buying power and example to others can generate broader demand for energy-efficient products and services, creating entry markets for domestic suppliers and stimulating competition in providing high-efficiency products and services. Despite these benefits, with the exception of a few countries government sector actions have often lagged behind other energy efficiency policies. This is especially true in developing countries and transition economies - even though energy used by public agencies in these countries may represent at least as large a share of total energy use as the public sector in industrial economies. This paper summarizes work in progress to inventory current programs and policies for government sector energy efficiency in developing countries, and describes successful case studies from Mexico's implementation of energy management in the public sector. We show how these policies in Mexico, begun at the federal level, have more recently been extended to state and local agencies, and consider the applicability of this model to other developing countries.

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory