Appliance energy efficiency policies, in particular minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and comparative labels, are a proven pathway to energy savings. Countries that adopt these policies do so to achieve certain objectives — to reduce consumers’ energy costs, reduce the overall demand for energy, delay the need to build new power plants, and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, among other objectives. What if these policies also serve to stimulate innovation in the industries producing the products in question and improve manufacturers’ competitiveness? Mature standards and labeling (S&L) programs, such as those run by the United States Department of Energy and the European Commission, forecast the impacts on manufacturers of every proposed MEPS, but there has been precious little examination of what the impacts of these policies on manufacturers actually have been. This paper presents the findings from some new research into how energy efficiency policies for appliances, lighting, and industrial equipment have affected the manufacturers of these products. The paper will examine specific cases from countries around the world where MEPS, comparative labels, and complementary policies have been used to achieve energy savings while bolstering domestic manufacturers. Obviously results vary. Appliance policies are not an unqualified benefit to domestic manufacturing industries in all cases. This paper explores why manufacturers have fared well in some cases and not so well in others, and explains how complementary policies such as tax credits and direct technical assistance have been used to help manufacturers transition to producing more efficient products.
Ari B. Reeves, Amit Khare and Yang Yu of CLASP
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