By Matt Golden, Senior Energy Finance Consultant
EDF’s Investor Confidence Project (ICP) is rapidly gaining momentum in Europe as indicated by a key European Union (EU) report that highlights the framework as an example of a system of standardization that facilitates energy efficiency investment.
ICP aims to bring transparency and accountability to the energy efficiency market by introducing a system of standardization in the way commercial building retrofits are developed, funded, and managed. The ICP framework assembles best practices and existing technical standards into a set of protocols that define a clear roadmap for developing projects, determining savings estimates, and documenting and verifying results.
Issues such as climate change, increasing energy costs, and the large amount of energy imports the E.U. requires, means that energy efficiency is front and center on the European Union's agenda. The EU Energy Efficiency Financials Institutions Group recently released a report describing energy efficiency as the E.U.’s biggest energy resource and one of the most cost effective ways to boost energy security, saying, “This is why the E.U. has a 20% primary energy consumption savings target for 2020 and further legislation in the field.”
Europe and the U.S. share many of the same barriers when it comes to energy efficiency investment, which has been hampered by the unpredictability of energy and financial savings. The report calls for accounting that would register the full benefit of retrofits, better enforcement of codes and standards, access to data, investment standardization, and more public-private investment partnerships. It also points to ICP as a successful approach to standardizing underwriting and investment procedures for energy efficiency projects.
Later in the report, our growing efforts around ICP Europe are listed as one of the “selected approaches and instruments” under a section which analyzes the “key drivers for demand for energy efficiency investments.” ICP is listed in the following categories: “Standardization,” "Clear Business Case, Leadership and Awareness at Key Decision Maker Level," and "Strong, Stable and Well-enforced Regulatory Framework" (see pages 31-32 in the report for more detail). This is important because it shows that ICP applies to at least three areas that are identified as "building blocks to develop a practical framework to stimulate energy efficiency investment in buildings."
In January, I attended ESCO Europe, the continent’s largest conference for energy service providers, to discuss adapting ICP to the European market. These efforts were so successful that the European energy efficiency industry established a broad-based steering committee of policymakers, investors, and industry stakeholders to explore bringing the ICP framework to Europe.
Since the conference, ICP has been engaging in conversations with European stakeholders to launch ICP on the continent and this report greatly fuels that momentum. EDF looks forward to additional European engagement and believes the more we can align our efforts in a global economy the more investment and energy efficiency we will achieve.