The dark side of the energy transition

How efficiency leads us astray

In the quest for a sustainable energy transition, the debate is split between two main camps: technical innovation and behavioural change. What the both miss, argues Franco Ruzzenenti, is that increased efficiency can paradoxically lead to higher energy consumption. In this piece, Ruzzenenti puts forward a manifesto for the energy transition, arguing that efficiency is not the saviour we once thought.


In the quest to the energy transition there are two main parties who have monopolized the debate over the means and strategies to be pursued. One party believe the issue is mainly, if not solely, technological, a mere substitution process at the top of the pipeline (fossil free energy sources), or addition process at the bottom (carbon sequestration or compensation). Andrew Lo, MIT Sloan finance professor, argued that the word energy transition is misleading and we should use instead that of energy addition, hinting not only to the new, foresee

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