More countries move toward incandescent phase-out

Fourteen developing countries are to come up with plans to phase out incandescent lamps with support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Photo: Brandon Christopher Warren

Getting rid of incandescents can lead to huge energy savings

Uruguay, Chile, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Morocco, Jordan, the Philippines and Tunisia are taking part in the Global Efficient Lighting Partnerships Programme, which will get underway in July.

The countries join 50 others who are already taking steps, with the aim of phasing out incandescents worldwide by 2016.

They will receive support from the En.lighten initiative, a public-private partnership led by UNEP and the Global Environment Facility with the help of Philips Lighting, Osram and the National Lighting Test Centre of China.

Incandescent lamps have already been phased out, or are scheduled to be, in most countries that are members of the OECD, as well as others including Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Mexico and Vietnam.

Getting rid of inefficient lighting is ‘one of the most cost-effective ways to contribute to the reduction of global carbon emissions’, said UNEP’s executive director Achim Steiner.

‘Increasing numbers of countries are now achieving major financial savings, generating green jobs and seeing reductions in mercury, sulphur dioxide and other pollutants from power stations, through a switch to efficient lighting,’ said Steiner. ‘As the Rio+20 negotiations continue, these new findings from the En.lighten initiative demonstrate that ambitious policies and partnerships must be seized if the social, economic and environmental benefits of a transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient green economy are to be realised.’

As much as five per cent of global electricity consumption could be saved every year through a transition to more efficient lighting, resulting in annual worldwide savings of over £70 billion, UNEP said. Although LED lamps remain expensive to buy for individual consumers, they are becoming more viable due to bulk procurement by governments, tax incentives and subsidies, and the shift towards LED will allow countries to go straight from incandescent lighting to LED, UNEP said.

Working with the International Energy Agency, UNEP has also conducted assessments of the potential benefits of energy-efficient lighting in 150 countries, and compiled a map of the world showing policies on lighting efficiency.

The assessments show that 41.3TWh could be saved annually in India through more efficient lighting, representing a 36 per cent cut in the country’s energy consumption for lighting, with a payback period of nine months. Changes in the United Arab Emirates could pay for themselves in 10 months, and in the European Union, just four months.

£68 billion opportunity

A new report by electronics research company IMS predicts that the adoption of retrofit LED lamps will create global energy savings worth £68 billion over five years.

The figure is based on predictions of the number of LED lamps replacing incandescents worldwide, taking into account the cost of the lamps and the cost of the energy consumed.

Rapid growth in the market for LED lamps will result in a potential market of more than four billion units by 2016, said IMS. Adoption is predicted to accelerate as consumers become more aware of the long-term savings that can be achieved by switching from other lighting technologies.

Ryan Sanderson, one of the authors of the report, said: ‘The environmental impact that global adoption of LED lighting will have is colossal.’

IMS expects the energy savings in 2012 from upgrading incandescent to LED to reach 30 gigawatt hours. By 2016, with widespread adoption of retrofit LED lamps, the reduction in load is set to reach more than 300 gigawatts a year, with a total over the five-year period of more than 800 gigawatts, worth around $106 billion (£68 billion).

The long-term savings available to households from switching their lamps to LED will grow over the next few years as prices fall, the report said.

Report co-author Jonathon Eykyn said: ‘At a time when the world is struggling to balance the use of more sustainable power sources with the need to provide access to low-cost power sources to support economic growth, LED lighting could be a large part of the solution.’

IMS’ report is based on more than 40 hours of interviews with suppliers to the industry.

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