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Driving Investment in Energy Efficiency through Energy Savings Insurance in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ESI Europe (Driving Investment in Energy Efficiency through Energy Savings Insurance in Europe)

Reporting period: 2019-08-01 to 2022-01-31

In February 2018, the Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy (BASE), the Italian Federation for Energy Efficiency (FIRE), the Business Council for Sustainable Development Portugal (BCSD Portugal) and the Centro Tecnológico EnergyLab (Spain), launched the ESI Europe project aimed at scaling up investments in energy efficiency.
The ESI model targets small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and creates the conditions for them to upgrade specific old inefficient technologies to new energy efficient technologies. SMEs make up the vast majority of enterprises in Italy, Portugal and Spain and represent a significant market opportunity for energy efficiency improvements that remains largely untapped.
The ESI model comprises financial and non-financial elements designed to work together to create trust and credibility among key actors, and to reduce the risk for SMEs to invest in energy efficiency. The four main components of the ESI model are:
- a standardised contract establishing a simple and clear framework for the negotiations between SMEs and technology providers.
- an energy savings insurance (ESI) product, offered by a local provider to insure against the technology provider failing to fulfil its contractual obligations regarding the energy savings.
- a validation process conducted by an independent technical validation entity which helps to overcome the perceived high performance risk of energy efficiency projects.
- a financing structure established by linking existing financial instruments (i.e. green credit lines) that are already available on the local market, to enable energy efficiency projects to be realised.
The first phase of the ESI Europe project consisted of a market assessment in order to identify the energy efficiency market potential in the three target countries - Italy, Portugal and Spain. The assessment included interviews with technology providers, financial institutions, associations and SMEs.
The pre-selected technologies with significant market potential are LED lighting, industrial refrigeration, cogeneration, solar PV systems, air conditioning systems, air compressors, boilers, electric motors and solar water heaters. The programme targets a total of 344,000 SMEs from Italy, Portugal and Spain. Initially the ESI programme will prioritise the food wholesale sector (Italy), the food processing industry (Italy, Spain), the textile industry (Portugal) and the hotel sector (Italy, Portugal and Spain) where an important energy efficiency market opportunity was identified. This represents potential investment of EUR 1,200 million.

The following phase of the project involved the development of the ESI model elements adapted to the local context in Italy, Portugal and Spain:
- Local law firms were hired to assist in the development of the ESI Europe standardised contract in local language and in accordance with regulation and market practices. The contracts are available for each of the target countries.
- Several insurance companies were contacted and supported to adapt the insurance product to the ESI format. The companies are ready to offer the insurance in their countries.
- An Independent and credible European-wide validation entity has been engaged to develop all the forms, protocols and methodologies to establish robust, reliable and transparent validation and verification procedures. The methodology for ESI Europe project is based on existing internationally recognised standard of IPMVP. The validation methodology and procedure has been developed for the ESI Europe project, with adaptation to local context and regulation.
- Financial institutions including commercial banks, development banks, guarantee funds from the three countries and at European level were contacted and ESI model presented. A financing structure for energy efficiency investments using the ESI model was designed for Italy, Portugal and Spain and key financial instruments have been identified and linked to the ESI Europe programme.

The brand GoSafe with ESI was created to facilitate the communication of the ESI model and accompanying marketing material has been created in local languages, including videos, brochures, manuals and etc. In this context, the third phase included capacity building events that took place in order to present the ESI model/GoSafe with ESI solution and further engage actors and build the pipeline of energy efficiency investments. The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak occurred at the third and last phase of the ESI Europe implementation and had a significant impact on the activities and expected outcomes. Turing to a digital marketing strategy and virtual events and webinars kept the momentum for the outreach to the market.

An online platform has been developed in Blockchain for the smooth exchange of documents and information between client, technology providers and the validation entity. The ESI Europe toolkit compiles templates and tools developed throughout the project, as well as the business model canvas for GoSafe with ESI and guide with lessons learnt for a broader rollout of the model. A final ESI Europe video has also been prepared to showcase the project. Dissemination activities of the ESI Europe project included publications, dissemination in conferences and events.
As an innovative market-based solution, the ESI Europe project creates new market dynamics that drive investments in energy efficiency. The first step to reach that is reaching key market players and informing them through capacity building and dissemination activities about the ESI model.

Through a series of capacity-building workshops and webinars, the project gathered over 1,250 representatives from technology providers (TPs), 460 individuals from SMEs, and 220 from financial institutions (FIs) in the three countries. Despite all the impacts related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the ESI Europe team created a sustainable energy project pipeline capable of mobilising investments at the range of 12.5 € collectively in Italy, Spain, and Portugal.

For the dissemination of the ESI Europe project to a broader European audience, the team covered diverse geographies via nine events occurring all over the continent, from Sweden to Malta, reaching 680 individuals from different sectors such as academics and energy experts or civil servants. Meanwhile, dissemination through webinars reached a worldwide audience of 430 representatives of SMEs, TPs, FIs and beyond.
ESI Europe and GoSafe with ESI