Launch of new project to “unlock” access to financing for industry, street lighting and district energy

The Investor Confidence Project was brought to Europe to develop a system to give confidence to all active stakeholders. There are still concerns that investing in energy efficiency is risky. ICP is designed to change that. ICP started with investments in buildings and is now broadening the scope.

This week during the EU Sustainable Energy Week, it was announced that ICP was expanded to include industry, street lighting and district energy. Energy Efficiency in Industrial Processes that EiD is a member of, is now a member of the consortium trying out a new approach to help ensure adequate financing is not only available but that the potential projects actually get implemented.

The context is important

The European Commission’s clean energy package from last November combines both legislative and non-legislative initiatives. Importantly, the package calls for a more ambitious energy savings target for 2030 that has more teeth in it. Now the Commission is calling for a 30% target, but importantly they want it to be binding. This is consistent with the EU meeting its obligations under the 2015 global climate agreement. The final decision on the target will not be made for some time but it is important to keep up the momentum for greater ambition.

The Commission is also trying to get the market to work more effectively in all sectors. Since the oil crises of the 1970s, there has been regular discussion about market barriers – why the potential for cost-effective energy efficiency improvements are not taking place. Policies that are put in place are now by and large designed to address one or more of those persistent barriers.

We all know that if a measure (from lighting to pumping systems) is not implemented, there will be no savings, other than some that can happen with normal housekeeping.

Understanding the concept

The concept of the Investor Confidence Project is relatively simple to understand. A potential project in a factory or a district heating system, for example, is identified. Someone has to do the necessary calculations to determine the viability. Someone has to be identified to install it (often the same organisation). And some organisation needs to fund it. What this project does is standardise the procedures so that all players gain confidence in the system. The factory owner is happy. The developer/auditor/installer is happy. The financial institution is happy. There are protocols in place and third party monitoring to ensure everything is done correctly. The protocols are developed by interested experts and not by commercial interests.

This approach, first brought out in the United States, was used for buildings, mainly multi-family and commercial buildings. This approach was then brought to Europe for buildings as well. Importantly, the European Commission is funding it. The final stages of the first phase on buildings are now being completed.

The Commission is now supporting a further evolution of the concept into industry, street lighting and district energy. This two-year project is just starting. It benefits from lessons learned in the buildings component because much of the methodology is similar.

Plan to attend

One of the first steps is to create awareness and bring in experts on industry, street lighting and district energy to help develop protocols. This will get the process in motion. An introductory webinar will be held June 27th. Information on the webinar is available here [].

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