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ENERGY EFFICIENCY Energy efficiency and African energy the future of By Jenny Corry Smith and Matt Jordan, CLASP A long-standing rule of thumb among energy efficiency professionals is that a $1 investment in energy efficiency delivers $3 in savings back to the economy. As the African continent sprints towards its future, what could its businesses, governments, communities and households do with a three-to-one return on investment in energy efficiency? Wide-scale deployment of highly efficient appliances and equipment can help Africa achieve universal energy access more quickly and cost-effectively. Energy efficiency is the cheapest and most abundant way to reduce capital investments in new power supply, increase grid and service reliability and expand access to electricity in Africa. However, to date, African policy and energy sector leaders haven’t even come close to fully exploiting 38 energy efficiency’s extraordinary potential to meet the continent’s rising power demand and population growth. Ambitious and sustained energy efficiency efforts can, and should, be a keystone of Africa’s electrification plans. Developing a success story Where energy efficiency programmes have been prioritised in African countries, the results have been impressive. For example, to address rolling blackouts, Ghana’s government established Africa’s first appliance energy efficiency standards and labelling programme in 2000. The programme currently covers CFLs, household refrigerators and air conditioners, and Ghana’s Energy Commission plans to expand the programme to cover motors and televisions. Moreover, a ban on importing used refrigerators has prevented over 260,000 old appliances from entering the market. According to research conducted by CLASP, consumers and businesses have benefited enormously from these policies; the room air conditioner standard alone saves $64 million dollars in reduced energy bills each year. Due in part to the more abundant, reliable, and affordable energy enabled by these energy efficiency policies, Ghana’s electrification rate, as recorded by the IEA’s World Economic Outlook 2014, ESI AFRICA ISSUE 5 2016