The Gordian knot is a knot that gave its
name to a proverbial term for a problem solvable only by bold action. In 333
BC, Alexander the Great, on his march through Anatolia, reached Gordium, the
capital of Phrygia. As the Encyclopaedia Britannica states, “In the popular
account, probably invented as appropriate to an impetuous warrior, Alexander
sliced through the knot with his sword, but, in earlier versions, he found the
ends either by cutting into the knot or by drawing out the pole. The phrase
“cutting the Gordian knot” has thus come to denote a bold solution to a
The key point is bold action. We are no
longer in 333 BC. One could say we are in the dawn of the low-carbon energy
transition. But we have a problem, many
intertwined problems that need bold action.
Paving the way
I have been heading the work on financing
for Energy Efficiency for Industrial Processes (EEIP) since 2011 when we
started with a roundtable exchange of expertise and ideas between the broad
range of stakeholders from businesses, investment funds, banks, ESCOs, with
European decision and policy-makers. Since then, EEIP has used its social network
platforms to maintain a dialogue and help disseminate best practice.
EEIP is an active member of the Energy
Efficiency Financial Institutions Group and was proud to be part of the first
major report in 2015. Since then,
interest in financial issues relating to energy efficiency has grown in Europe
but the Gordian knot has remained.
In 2017, EEIP became a partner in the
Investor Confidence Project, funded
by Horizon 2020, that expanded to cover industry, district energy and street
lighting. The Investor Confidence Project Europe unlocks access to financing by
standardising how energy efficiency projects are developed, documented and
measured. It was a simple decision to join because EEIP realised that there had
to be new ways of addressing the Gordian knot. ICP Europe does provide a bold solution.
But it is not a simple solution at the moment because many elements have
to be put in place:
- The range of stakeholders need to be made aware of the
- Protocols need to be developed with the support of stakeholders.
- Project developers need to be credentialed.
- A quality assurance network needs
to be in place.
- Asset owners need to be convinced.
- The financial community
needs to be assured that a properly certified project (the Investor Ready Energy
Efficiency™ (IREE™) international certification) is worth financing.
This approach, that is taking time to be
put in place, will reduce many of the concerns that the financial community has
raised over the years. There is a
standardisation of the project development process, not of the technologies.
There is, as the title of the project states, more confidence for investors.
The bold solution also needs endorsement
ICP Europe’s Investor Network offers
investors a means to promote ICP Europe while extending brand awareness and
connecting with project originators and programme partners. The core feature
and requirement of the programme is the Investor Network endorsement. This endorsement consists of agreeing to
formally recommend the use of the ICP Europe Protocols and Credentialing System
as best practices for originating energy efficiency projects. As an Investor Network member, organisations
consent to the use of the member’s logo and name in the ICP Europe Investor
Network page on europe.eeperformance.org.
It is also highly encouraged that participating organisations display
the Investor Network logo and declaration on participant’s website.
This is an opportunity to be part of the
solution. Bold action is needed address
a complicated problem. We all know that more energy efficiency measures need to
be implemented. That takes financing.
The Gordian knot awaits.
For more information, do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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