Design of a methodology for impact assessment of energy efficiency programs: measuring indirect effects in the Chilean case
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- Sauma, E., Vera, S., Osorio, K. et al. Energy Efficiency (2016) 9: 699. doi:10.1007/s12053-015-9380-0
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Today, many countries are promoting energy efficiency (EE) measures as part of their energy strategy. Among the goals sought with these actions are producing a decoupling between economic growth and energy consumption, reducing the dependence on fossil fuels as a primary energy source, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Measuring direct, indirect, and co-benefit effects of EE programs is crucial. However, in the current literature and practice, assessments of EE programs have focused on direct impacts (i.e., impacts whose energy savings can be directly and instantaneously quantified) due to their objectivity and simplicity to put evaluations in a cost-effectiveness framework. Moreover, several assessment methodologies studying the indirect effects of EE programs only focus on identifying the effects and quantifying a proxy of the effects in terms of the number of activities developed or the number of people attending EE training or dissemination events. Some few existing methodologies correctly assess the indirect effects of EE measures, but they often require a significant budget. We propose a new methodology to assess the impacts of EE programs, especially focusing on indirect effects (i.e., long-term effects on energy use), that is suitable for low-budget programs. We focus on those indirect effects having the capability of mobilizing long-term energy savings through transformations in energy markets. We attempt to measure the potential future energy savings that are sustainable in the long term due to a behavioral transformation of energy markets. In order to measure these indirect effects, we use three axes: presence, valuation, and mobilizing capacity. This methodology was applied to 12 EE programs (implemented during 2011 and 2012 in Chile) in order to obtain their indirect impact assessment.