Breaking down the barriers to energy efficiency investment in Europe.
The European Commission chartered Energy Efficiency
Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG) stated in its April 2015
report that energy efficiency investments have the clear
potential to become a key driver of EU competitiveness,
economic value, innovation and employment1. It
emphasized that energy efficiency is of increasing strategic
importance for Europe due to the need to increase energy
security, offset rising energy prices, and the need to increase
efforts to meet the EU's 2020 climate change commitments.
However, this report also warned that if the investment into
energy efficiency is not significantly increased, EU Member
States are at risk of missing their 2020 and long-term
efficiency and climate targets.
The importance of increasing investor confidence in
energy efficiency and standardisation of the development process was stressed in the EEFIG report and the Investor
Confi dence Project, which was only operating in the United
States at that time, was highlighted as "a relevant model
initiative" and "an EU Investor Confidence Project" (ICP)
was recommended. Dr. Steven Fawkes of EnergyPro Ltd
formed a consortium, bringing together a range of expertise
across fi ve countries, and the team was awarded a €1.9
million grant from the European Commission's Horizon 2020
programme in 2015 to develop and roll-out ICP in Europe.
The consortium has since achieved results far beyond those
targeted in the grant agreement.
With the active involvement of many energy efficiency
and finance experts, the ICP Europe team developed
and published six Protocols, the basis of the ICP system,
which set out best practice in project development and
documentation; these were translated into Portuguese,
Bulgarian and German.
In April 2016, ICP launched its Investor Network, which now
boasts 19 major financial institutions – such as Royal Bank of
Scotland, Joule Assets, Amber Infrastructure, SUMA Capital,
SUSI Partners or Macquarie - with over €1 billion available
for energy efficiency retrofit projects. Investors join the
Network in order to find high-quality project pipelines and
developers to work with, and because they recognize the
value of standardised, investor-ready projects to increase
deal flow and drive demand in the marketplace.
Shortly after, ICP launched its Investor Ready Energy
Efficiency™ (IREE™) Certification for the European market
to build investors' and owners trust in retrofits and savings.
This announcement introduced the process of how to
achieve IREE™ Certification: a project can be certified
if it has been developed following the ICP Protocols
by a credentialed Project Developer and verified by a
credentialed Quality Assurance Provider. The first IREETM
project, a £13m hospital retrofit in the UK, was certified in
the same month, and thirty projects and programmes have
been certified or started using ICP in several countries in
Europe since then.
ICP has been recognized as a best practice throughout
Europe, notably in the European Commission's "Winter
Package," a major energy policy update, where it cites ICP
Europe as "best practice" to maximize investor interest
in buildings requiring energy efficiency upgrades. Paul
Hodson, Head of the European Commission's energy
effi ciency unit, said: "The potential of the Investor
Confidence Project to de-risk energy efficiency investments
has been recognised by the Commission. The ICP approach
addresses the needs of investors looking for standardised
projects that reduce the time, risk, and costs involved in
funding energy efficiency building retrofits."
In 2017, ICP became part of Green Business Certification
Inc. (GBCI), as one of their portfolio of green certifications
which includes LEED and GRESB. This partnership will
build upon the successes of its start-up phase, supported
by Horizon 2020, and enable ICP to develop into a selfsustaining
certification system. It will also open new
geographical markets for ICP, streamline its Training and
Credentials programme, and increase the number of
ICP Project Developers and Quality Assurance providers
working to deliver IREETM projects across markets.
In early 2017 the European Commission further recognised
the importance of ICP by awarding a new grant to extend
ICP into industrial, street lighting and district energy projects.
Dr. Steven Fawkes, ICP Senior Advisor
Quitterie de Rivoyre, ICP Project Manager
1. Energy Efficiency - the first fuel for the EU Economy - How to drive new
finance for energy efficiency investments – Energy Efficiency Financial
Institutions Group – commissioned by EC & UNEP