Policies to improve energy access and energy efficiency are often discussed, designed and assessed in isolation from each other. In this paper, we highlight possible synergies in these two domains of policy making by looking specifically at some key household end uses that are the first to be met once improved access has been provided. By building in efficiency considerations at the very inception of activities aimed at improving access, effective energy supply available is potentially increased, the level of energy services that can be provided by the existing capacity and infrastructure or from existing budgets available is also enhanced, and the potential for reducing the cost for those populations for which cost has the highest consideration is also improved. In particular, we recommend two areas where policy maybe leveraged to benefit both access and efficiency objectives, first in the setting of standards, labels and codes and second coupling energy subsidies for access with rebates or grants for more efficient end use devices.
Building codes and regulations can be an effective means of attaining desired levels of thermal comfort while reducing the energy needed for using heating and cooling equipment.
The use of appliance standards and labels coupled with financing schemes for efficient equipment purchases can be an effective means to diffuse more efficient appliances even among the poorest and reduce the overall amount of energy needed to meet growing energy service demands.
Providing increasing energy access more efficiently is likely to benefit from a reorientation of subsidy policies from subsidies on energy alone to grants, rebates or easy credit for efficient end use equipment as well
Pursuing energy access and efficiency policies in tandem can help realize substantial synergies by potentially increasing the level of energy services that can be provided by existing infrastructure, reducing energy costs, and avoiding lock in into inefficient technologies and practices.