The first conference in the series, hosted by the Investor Confidence Project (ICP) and BPIE, called Investor Days, took place February 2016 in Brussels. This event provided a forum to discuss progress made since EEFIG’s seminal report on the main challenges preventing energy efficiency investment across the EU. At the Brussels conference, lack of standardization in project proposals was identified as a major barrier to deal flow.
A second event in the Investor Days conference series was held in Barcelona this past June in direct response to positive feedback the Brussels event received. ICP teamed up with the Sustainable Energy Asset Framework (SEAF), an EU-funded project under the Horizon 2020 Programme, to host Investor Days Barcelona. At the June event, a diverse range of ESCOs and investors presented on best practices in energy efficiency projects and investment criteria used to evaluate viable projects. Beyond a mere commercial exercise, speakers and participants interacted during a half day dedicated to small group discussion to pinpoint and expose challenges that the ESCO and finance communities must address in order to realize the € 8 billion market potential of the energy efficiency sector.
During the workshop discussions, ESCOs established that the greatest barrier to project uptake is the sale and closure of projects, rather than finance alone. This is due to numerous reasons, including the difficulty in accessing high-level management and obtaining client trust; most clients are unfamiliar with EPC contracts and question ESCO reliability. The difficulty in capturing the full value of an EE project (including lowered use of materials and improved safety) and the ever-present communication gap between ESCOs and investors were also cited as major impediments to project acquisition.
Investors, on the other hand, insisted that the primary barrier to increased EE project pipeline remains the lack of investible projects, with uptake of fewer than 5% of evaluated projects. Moreover, when an investible project is identified, upfront costs of project acquisition and due diligence are prohibitive, ultimately turning the investment into a net loss.
The third event of the conference series will be held in Lisbon, November 2-3 2016. Investor Days Lisbon will focus on recent developments in the Portuguese EE sector. Featured presenters and participants will include:
APPII, Amago Energia Inteligente, Banco BPI, CREARA Energy Experts, EEEF, Grow Advisory, Joule Assets, RdA Climate Solutions, Servizi Energia Ambiente, SMARTWATT, SI Capital, SONINGEO Energy, SUSI Partners, VIVAPOWER, Vieira de Almeida, and more.
Conference participants will be asked to collectively brainstorm solutions to the challenges named above. Within this context, ICP and SEAF will present the progress they have made towards bringing project standardization, valuation, and insurance tools to EE stakeholders across Europe.
More than a one-off event, Investor Days represents the emergence of a new, united community of ESCOs and investors, never before to have existed in Europe. Please join the discussion, network with project developers and financiers, and help change the face of EE in Europe.
 In its report, EEFIG identifies a “vey strong economic, social and competitive rationale for the up-scaling of energy efficiency investments in buildings and industry in the EU”.