District Energy: We need your technical expertise - help us “unlock” access to financing

Energy Recovery

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22 November 2017

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Rod Janssen

We need your technical expertise: Help us “unlock” access to financing for district energy  

The Investor Confidence Project, funded by the European Commission, 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 Europe is designed to change that. Starting with investments in buildings, ICP Europe has now broadened the scope to include industry, district energy and street lighting.

Stephen Hibbert, Global Head of Energy & Carbon Efficiency Finance, ING Wholesale Banking: 'We have supported ICP’s work to standardise project development in the building sector and are pleased to see the project being extended into industry, street lighting and district energy.'

Importantly, ICP Europe will soon convene a Technical Forum for district energy, following one for industry (that is now in its final stages before the Protocol is published in December) and another on street lighting that will convene early 2018. ICP Europe is now looking for more experts to join this Technical Forum for district energy. For the purpose of this project district energy projects are characterised by heating and/or cooling distributed to a group of buildings from a central energy generation plant.    

Understanding the importance of the protocols  

Experts play a valuable role in developing new Protocols for industry, district energy and street lighting. The Protocols define a standardised road map of best practices for originating energy savings following the ICP Project Lifecycle.  ICP Protocols are a best practice assembly of existing standards, practices, and documentation in order to create the data necessary to enable underwriting or managing of energy performance risk.  

These protocols reference international, European and national standards and best practices to provide all market actors across the European energy efficiency development and investment community with tools to improve the predictability of energy savings and related bankability of energy efficiency projects.  

ICP Europe will soon be working with the European Technical Forum to develop a protocol for district energy projects found in the European market.  

How the ICP process works  

The concept of the Investor Confidence Project is simple to understand. The protocols set out requirements for an investment package to be submitted by a project developer that covers critical stages throughout the project lifecycle. This documentation is subsequently reviewed and validated by a third party Quality Assurance Provider. Compliant projects are awarded the Investor Ready Energy Efficiency™ certification. This process enables standardised project performance underwriting, leading to better data on performance, and a more efficient marketplace with less duplicative engineering and lower transaction costs.  The result should be an increase in deal flow and a more transparent and efficient market.   

For example, a potential district energy project 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. All stakeholders (owners, project developers and investors) gain from this. There is third party monitoring to ensure everything is done correctly.  

The technical integrity of the protocol  

If the protocol is not credible and technically worthy, then the entire ICP concept fails. For that reason, it is important to have a strong body providing technical guidance.  On the ICP team, the people writing the draft protocols have years of experience and are technically sound. But, we understand that a transparent and open, multi-stakeholder approach to the process, where we try to make sure to collect enough EU representativeness to make sure protocols are applicable in all EU markets, is key to their acceptance and usefulness.  For that reason, ICP has always used a group of experts to provide comments and advice.  

These protocols reference international, European and national standards and best practices to provide all market actors across the European energy efficiency development and investment community with tools to improve the bankability of relevant energy efficiency projects.   

“For that reason, ICP Europe needs technical experts who understand the European context in those areas.”    

Each defined protocol creates a standard set of documentation that will help standardise project performance underwriting, leading to better data on performance, and a more efficient marketplace with less duplicative engineering and lower transaction costs.  The result should be an increase in deal flow and a more transparent and efficient market.    

Joining the Technical Forum    

The Forum will ensure that ICP Europe staff is producing relevant and needed products and services for the European renovation markets. The Forum shall do this through:

  1. Providing insight and feedback on draft products in webinar based Forum meetings and informally;
  2. Providing local, national and European knowledge on relevant standards, best practices and initiatives that may be relevant to, or interact with, ICP Europe products and tools and
  3. Identifying projects and programmes for piloting of ICP Europe products and services.    

For further information on joining one of our technical forums, please go to our project website here [http://europe.eeperformance.org/technical-forum.html].      

Further information including benefits for stakeholders

For other related blogs prepared by Energy Efficiency in Industrial Processes on the ICP project, go to the EEIP website or contact me directly (mail to Rod Janssen). You can also jump directly to some recently published post via links below.

About the Author

Rod Janssen is the President of Energy Efficiency in Industrial Processes (EEIP).