ESI Europe project: Driving Private Investments for a Climate Neutral Europe

By Livia Miethke Morais, Senior Sustainable Energy Finance Specialist, BASE (Basel Agency for Sustainable Energies)
Winter 2021

The European Green Deal aims at delivering the EU vision of a climate neutral continent by 2050 and sets clear targets for emission reductions, renewable energy production and energy effi ciency. This will require not only the mobilisation of financial resources from public actors, but also and most importantly from the private sector.

An innovative model: the Energy Savings Insurance
Investments in Energy Efficiency (EE), especially by Small and Mediumsized enterprises (SMEs), face barriers such as high upfront costs, lack of access to finance, high perceived risk, lack of trust in new technologies, competing investment priorities among others.

Many of these barriers can be overcome with business models such as the Energy Savings Insurance (ESI) model. It helps to build trust in EE solutions in which companies can rely on the returns on their investment, as the future energy savings are guaranteed in contract and covered by an insurance. A technical validation process lead by an independent entity creates additional trust in the EE project.

The ESI model combines financial and non-financial elements designed to work together to create trust and credibility among key actors (e.g. technology providers, enterprises, fi nancial institutions), reducing the perceived risk of energy efficiency investments.

Implementation of ESI Europe: GoSafe with ESI
BASE and partners are implementing the ESI model in Europe. It is brought to the market under the GoSafe with ESI brand. A standardised contract and a validation process have been developed and insurance companies and financial institutions have been engaged in Italy, Portugal and Spain. Furthermore, GoSafe with ESI counts with an online platform that allows the smooth and traceable exchange of information, documentation and savings reporting. Developed in blockchain, the platform contributes to creating trust in the process. From September 2021, the ESI Europe 2.0 is expanding the implementation of GoSafe with ESI to Croatia, Greece and Slovakia.

The implementation of the ESI Europe included the training on the GoSafe with ESI elements of more than 1,000 individuals ranging from technology providers, SMEs and financial institutions within Italy, Portugal and Spain. In addition, almost 1,000 individuals from a European-wide audience also had the opportunity to learn about ESI Europe and GoSafe with ESI through events and webinars.

The ESI Europe toolkit contains the Business Model Canvas for GoSafe with ESI. It describes the steps for implementing the innovative business model, that go from an initial market assessment, the engagement of key partners (e.g. insurance providers, validation entity and financial institutions), capacity building and building a pipeline of initial projects. Templates for the key resources to be adapted to local market, such as the GoSafe with ESI contract, the validation process, energy savings insurance and fi nancing structure as well as marketing material samples are also included in the toolkit.

Innovative business models such as GoSafe with ESI are important drivers of private investments in energy efficiency and renewable energies, aligning with the EU taxonomy and therefore contributing to the delivery of the European Green Deal.

The ESI Europe project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 785061. The content within this article reflects only the author's views, and not the views of the European Commission or the CINEA. The Commission and Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
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