The IEA’s 7th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency, June 7-9 2022, Sønderborg, Denmark

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Annual Global Conference on energy efficiency is recognized as the most significant gathering of global leaders discussing energy efficiency policy and action.

This year’s Global Conference is hosted by the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate, and takes place in the city of Sønderborg, a leading technology center in Southern Denmark.

The event brought together ministers, CEOs and government officials, industry and civil society. The main goal of the conference was participants to share knowledge and real experience, and to explore how energy efficiency can be used for faster and stronger progress in the real world in the next few years.

The meeting started on June 7th, with the focus of the first panel discussion – the role of ESCOs on the Road to Net Zero. Explore opportunities to achieve net zero carbon emission, increase energy security and address the challenge of financing it. Leading experts from around the world demonstrated effective ESCO models, lessons learned and their success factors. Participants shared experiences and discussed the actions needed to overcome persistent challenges in the sector, defining key recommendations for policy makers.

Ms. Galia Vassileva – Executive Director of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Sources Fund was also invited to participate in the panel discussion. She presented the objectives of the Fund and focused on the following developed models for financing ESCO companies at EERSF:

– Direct financing of ESCO companies with guaranteed result or not;

– Purchase of receivables (though cession contract) or debt purchase; and

– ESCO Portfolio Guarantees – a financial instrument created at the initiative of the World Bank in 2008.

Ms. Galia Vassileva, based on long experience of EERSF, pointed out that the purchase of receivables is one of the most successful and popular model of financing ESCO market in Bulgaria.

Since 2006, EERSF has supported with financial resources for about € 10 million, 17 projects in buildings, companies and street lighting. 29 ESCO portfolio guarantees with a total project value of about € 9 million, or loans of about € 300 000.

Ms. Vassileva also shared the existing risk in financing ESCO companies, as well as measures taken by the Fund to eliminate them.

One of the key recommendations that Ms. Vassileva made in support of the ESCO market was: governments to ensure that in the budgets of contracting authorities (state institutions, municipalities, etc.), announcing an EPC public procurement, there are funds planned and provided, which for the term of the EP contract implementation correspond to the normalized energy consumption of the buildings, street lighting systems, etc.  Another recommendation based on the obstacles encounters – the huge resources available in the form of grants under EU Operational Programs or other international funds and institutions, have an extremely negative impact on the development of the ESCO market in Bulgaria. The financing of an ESCO project by combining a grant component with a financial instrument will enable the implementation of measures on a larger scale, as well as the grant to reach more stakeholders.

At the end of panel session, the following conclusions were made: in search of solutions for the development of the ESCO market on the Road to Net Zero, it turns out that significant financial resources and number of financial instruments are available worldwide. It is important to emphasize the awareness of end users about the benefits of energy efficiency, which will provoke an increase in demand and such projects to be implemented.