UPDATE - ICP: Top 2 benefits for energy efficiency project developers



01 February 2018


Jürgen Ritzek

ICP (Investor Confidence Project Europe) delivers a standardised framework for developing energy efficiency projects to reduce uncertainty for clients and investors – to help grow the number of projects and the energy efficiency finance market.

Frameworks already exists for buildings and are now being developed for projects in industry, district energy and street lighting.

The first new framework on industry was launched December 2017. And we are now looking for project developers to apply this framework in pilot projects.

As a project developer, you will ask the question “what´s in it for me” and here is the answer:

Top 2 benefits why project developers should apply the ICP framework

No1: Get more clients
A key barrier for industrial clients to start a new energy efficiency project lies in the uncertainty about the outcome, the difference between the “promises” and the “real savings” generated.
This is where the ICP framework comes into play. It is a technology neutral and certifiable process description ensuring that best practices are applied throughout the development of the project. The framework has been developed together with the financial community to help lenders and investors have greater confidence in project outcomes, which basically means an ICP project is more likely to deliver against its promises.
Increased confidence obviously works both ways, it benefits your clients as they can trust that they get what is promised.  

For a project developer, applying the ICP framework becomes a sales argument: “We will deliver against our promise. You can trust us as we are applying the ICP framework which has been developed by the industry and financial institutions.”  

No2: Free marketing support
The ICP project in Europe is co-financed by the European Commission (again, think about trust!) and EEIP, the largest global industry network for energy efficiency is a partner. Part of EEIP´s contribution is to promote those project developers applying the ICP framework.
As well as the entire energy intensive industry in Europe, EEIP covers the industrial value chain from end to end, which means EEIP is reaching out to all your current and potential clients.  

EEIP will tell them that you are a professional project developer using highest standards to deliver against your promises.
And EEIP will also recommend any potential client to “request” project developers to apply the ICP standards.  

The Reason To Believe  

The underlying objective of the Investor Confidence Project Europe is to help unlock access to financing for the building, industry, district energy and street lighting markets by standardising how energy efficiency projects are developed, documented and measured. Standardization using best practices set out by ICP reduces the risk for investors in regard to the projected outcome of an energy efficiency project. It also reduces time and skills needed by investors to perform due diligence for each individual project. Finally, it reduces transaction costs. These factors open the door for more capital to finance such projects or re-finance investments of project developers and ESCOs.

A side benefit of such a standard is logically that it increases also the certainty for clients of energy efficiency projects that projected energy savings will be delivered.  

The origin  

The logic behind the ICP approach links back to the outcome of an initiative called Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG), established in 2013 by the European Commission Directorate-General for Energy (DG Energy) and United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). EEFIG created an open dialogue and work platform for public and private financial institutions, industry representatives and sector experts to identify the barriers to the long-term financing for energy efficiency and proposed policy and market solutions to them. EEFIG has engaged 120 active participants from 100 organizations to deliver clear and unambiguous messages. EEFIG recommended adopting the ICP to Europe and it was introduced in 2015 with the support of Horizon 2020 funding.   

The ICP structure

ICP uses an approach originally developed in the US for the buildings sector. In Europe, it was first adopted for buildings through a project financed by the EC. Now ICP is tackling industry, dristrict energy and street lighting. 

ICP is based on two foundations:

  1. The ICP framework
    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.
  2. Independant 3rd party certification
    ICP's Investor Ready Energy Efficiency™ (IREE™) is an international certification that insures best practices, the right professionals and third-party validation are used to deliver high-quality projects that you can bank on. 

What´s happening right now – and how project developers can engage 

ICP Protocols for industry are ready and available to be applied in projects. Right now. The protocols for district energy and street lighting will be available early 2018.  

How the development of protocols is organised – and how you can participate
Engaging in the development of protocols (the ICP framework) is easy and allows project developers to shape the final product across Europe.  

The ICP technical team together with internationally recognised experts are developing a draft which will then be shared with the Technical Forum which acts as the leading technical advisory group to input, discuss and feedback. This process is organised in an iterative way. The Technical Forum is open to all interested experts and the whole process is open source.  

The Technical Forum
As a Technical Forum member (register here: http://europe.eeperformance.org/technical-forum.html ) you

  • receive a draft of the latest protocol in development
  • are invited to comment anytime
  • are invited to join the Technical Forum webinar where drafts are shared and discussed
The Technical Forum Industry has delivered the ICP industry protocol. However, the Forum remains open as a sharing and networking group. And it ensures you receive all updates and latest developments, e.g. the translated training material in German language...

Current time plan for Street Lighting and District Energy Technical Forum and resource requirements

Street Lighting

District Energy

Prior to each webinar discussion round, technical Forum Members receive the latest status of the protocol for their own preparation.  

Estimated time investment is 2-3h per round including the webinar.  

Which means with a few hours of time investment, you will not only amongst the first in the market to know everything about the new “market standards” but also be able to actively shape them!

Training and support
To apply the protocol to your own energy efficiency projects with your clients, you obviously need to familiarize yourself with the protocol and how it is applied.
To do so, ICP offers s 2-step support for pilot projects (pilot projects are all projects at least starting before May 2019). This support is free to project developers and owners as it is funded by Horizon 2020. 

Step1: An open training webinar for all (industry date to be published soon).
Step2: A 1:1 training session with project developer / the project developer team followed by specific technical asssistance as required to get the pilot project certified.     

Summary and call to action  

Applying the ICP framework for energy efficiency projects gives you a competitive advantage in the market, more business, better re-financing opportunities and – as part of the ICP EU co-funded project – free marketing support in all European countries and free technical assistance to adopt the ICP system.

We very much appreciate your engagement.
Just register for the Technical Forum http://europe.eeperformance.org/technical-forum.html and we are looking forward working together and support your business.  

You can also find more information on the ICP Europe website http://europe.eeperformance.org/ or in this blog https://www.ee-ip.org/articles/detailed/6fd7972a43ed4dcb9e477fe35afb6be9/industry-new-standards-for-easier-investments-in-energy-efficiency/  

Or you can contact us directly to discuss any open question you might have.  

Jorge Rodrigues de Almeida, ICP Europe Director

Quitterie de Rivoyre, ICP Europe Project Manager

Luis Castanheira, ICP Europe Technical Director

Rod Janssen, ICP Europe Project Partner and president of EEIP Industry Network

About the Author

Juergen Ritzek is co-founder and Business Director of EEIP