White certificates: the effects of the 2021 guidelines

The paper presented at the 2022 ECEEE summer study international conference on white certificates. It follows previous works available on this website and aims to summarising the effects of the 2021 guidelines on the scheme. Why am I publishing it on my blog after one year? Well, I was too busy to do it last June and then I forgot… Better late than never, and in any case not much has changed in the meantime. 2022 has not been a good year for white certificates. 2023 will perhaps get some better, judging by the first six months. But this will be… in a future paper! 😉

The Italian White Certificates scheme (WhC) was introduced in 2001 and has been effectively working since 2005. It has been characterised by the coverage of all sectors and energy efficiency solutions, and many flexibility options in place (e.g. non-obliged – a.k.a eligible – parties, tradable market for white certificates, bankability, flexibility on obliged parties targets, etc.).

With more than 29 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) of energy savings cumulated by the end of 2021, it has considerably contributed to the national energy efficiency targets.

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Multiple benefits of energy efficiency: a practical approach to evaluation

An article written with Livio De Chicchis about a practical approach to the evaluation of multiple benefits of energy efficiency, based on the mbenefits methodology. The general approach is summarised here, together with two case studies in which we were involved.

The article was published on the magazine Process Industry Informer last March.

Multiple benefits are defined as those economic effects generated by an energy efficiency project that go beyond energy savings. Every energy efficiency project can be associated with positive effects, the so-called non-energy benefits (NEBs), and negative ones (non-energy losses). An assessment of these effects by energy managers and technology providers can be important for three main reasons:

  • It adds economic value to the project, improving its economic indicators.
  • Since it requires a more thorough analysis, it allows to operate in a de-risking perspective, reducing the perceived risk associated with energy efficiency.
  • It facilitates the acceptance of energy efficiency projects, since it allows to highlight to decision makers and managers in charge of different departments the effects of the energy efficiency projects that are in line with their specific targets and priorities. 

Considering that the cost of energy efficiency tends to rise over the years, due to the increasing difficulty in introducing additional optimisations, the evaluation of non-energy benefits allows to counterbalance such issue.

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Why some invest in energy efficiency and some don’t?

are there solutions to make energy efficiency more attractive?

That was more or less the question I was confronted with at the Eufores webinar The Green Deal and the National Energy and Climate Plans in Italy. More or less, because the original title stated “if energy efficiency makes business sense, why do some invest, and others don’t”, adding thus that energy efficiency makes business sense, so that the fact the some don’t invest appears even more strange. Let’s see if this is true and what can we do to add people the party that choses to act, with benefits both for him/his company and for us all.

In fact energy efficiency is usually considered cost effective, and that’s the reason why many think it should make business sense. Unfortunately that’s not the case. In my opinion, in fact, the main issue with energy efficiency is that it is unattractive. This is a serious issue, because many of our choices are emotional, not rational, and so unattractiveness wins against cost effectiveness. Nevertheless many invest, meaning that it is not all lost, and that there are options to overcome energy efficiency unattractiveness.

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White certificates in Italy: will it overcome the huge challenges it has been facing in the last three years?

eceee summer study

The paper on white certificates in Italy I presented at the 2019 ECEEE conference. The paper goes through the whole life of the scheme, highlighting pros and cons of each phase, and tries to offer some insights to answer the question: will the scheme overcome the huge challenges it has been facing in the last three years?

I’ve been writing on the Italian white certificate scheme for many years now. Many papers are available on this blog. The present one, and the associated slides used for the speech at ECEEE summer study, are available below.

My idea is that the answer to the afore mentioned question can be positive. However, it requires the capability to find the right balance between precision and stringency on the one hand and the willingness to undergo a strong revision of the scheme on the other. FIRE is working hard to support the Italian policy makers and institutional stakeholders to find a way. What will be the future? Well, that’s for another paper…

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