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Selected tag(s): Investor Confidence Project

Europe’s Love Affair with the Investor Confidence Project Gets Serious

By: Panama Bartholomy, Director of ICP Europe

Flag_of_EuropeThe European Commission is putting its weight behind an initiative designed to increase private investment in energy efficiency, the Investor Confidence Project (ICP). ICP is accelerating the development of a global energy efficiency market by standardizing how energy efficiency projects are developed and energy savings are calculated.

In late February, the European Commission released a landmark report on energy efficiency in Europe that was 18 months in the making, and it had ICP all over it. The report, Energy Efficiency – the first fuel for the EU Economy, was issued by the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG), a group of financial and energy efficiency leaders and building owners convened by the European Commission and United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative.

Earlier that same month, the European Commission awarded a €1.92 million grant to the European version of the project, ICP Europe. The grant will pay for a consortium of companies to:

  • develop ICP’s project protocols for the European market;
  • work with financial institutions to embed them into their financing process; and
  • organize National Steering Groups in five countries: (Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Portugal and the U.K.) to take the protocols to markets in those countries.

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Making It Real – Energy Efficiency Upgrade Project Performance In The Real World

While codes, standards, and an increasingly energy-savvy marketplace push new buildings toward higher energy standards, existing building stock presents a conundrum.  Upgrading a building to meet higher energy standards than those for which it was originally designed is a tricky business.

McKinsey and others have identified energy efficiency in buildings, particularly large buildings, as one of the most powerful, and potentially cost-effective, opportunities for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.  However, even energy conservation measures that are “expected” to “pay for themselves” fairly quickly are not implemented universally.   Why?

There are myriad barriers to scaling energy efficiency, but one that gets little attention is the question of how reasonable and achievable upfront energy saving projections actually are.  This is remarkable, because knowing the savings will actually happen is incredibly important for ensuring that energy cost savings streams actually flow to the parties who pay for them – thus making billions of dollars available to pay for them as well ensuring that load reductions resulting from energy efficiency projects can be relied upon by electric system planners and that the GHG reductions we are counting on actually happen.

In a complex world, of course, it would be unreasonable to expect outcomes to match predictions perfectly. And, if the variability consisted of most outcomes coming pretty close to matching predictions, with overperforming and underperforming projects distributed evenly along a familiar-looking bell curve, the unpredictability of individual projects could be managed to some extent by combining them into portfolios.  Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case.  Although data about energy efficiency project performance is scarce, the little that is publicly available suggests that outcomes do not conform to a neat bell curve, and, worse, systematic underperformance may be the norm. 

I’ve explored some of the reasons for this variability and underperformance – and described EDF’s efforts to foster the conditions for a better track record – by convening parties engaged in various aspects of the upgrade process (our Investor Confidence Project)  in a Snapshot column published yesterday in the newsletter of the Sallan Foundation, The Torchlight.

Posted in Energy Efficiency, Investor Confidence Project / Also tagged | Read 1 Response