In the final period of the STEPPING PLUS project Energy agency KSSENA from Slovenia has prepared an »ACTION PLAN for the EPC schemes roll-out in the public buildings sector of the Savinjska-Šaleška region«.
Since there are several barriers slowing down the EPC implementation in the region, mainly lack of experience within local and state administration, lack of local promotors and facilitators of EPC, lack of good practice examples and small ESCO market in general, KSSENA has developed an action plan addressing some of these issues to help accelerate the development of ESCO market in the region.
During our participation in STEPPING PLUS project it became apparent, that Savinjsko-Šaleška region would benefit greatly from the active participation of the EPC facilitator. It was shown that municipalities, that have a strong support from energy experts, are usually more successful in implementing their SEAPs/SECAPs and generally more successful in obtaining financial resources, which also extends to more successful implementation of EPC projects. In this regard local energy agencies certainly proved to be key actor in promoting the EPC on regional and local level, where municipalities often lack specific knowledge and experience. In preparation of our action plan, we established EPC facilitator (i.e. energy agency) could take specific steps when approaching municipalities in order to boost the EPC market, such as:
• Analysing building stock and providing municipality with an idea on how much it can save in energy costs by retrofitting old buildings. This is a first step in motivating them to boost the renovation process.
• Approaching municipalities with ready to go suggestions for EPC projects, also suggesting aggregation of buildings to simplify the tendering process. Energy agencies can already suggest pool of buildings that are inviting for the ESCOs as well as for municipalities.
• Encouraging several municipalities to aggregate projects within one EPC contract, making the whole administrative process even less complex, approaching municipalities once again with ready to go pre-structured suggestions.
• Carrying out tendering and negotiation process. EPC facilitator could provide tender documents and assist in the preparation of these as well as help balance private and public interests.
• Providing tender and model documents/templates as well as assistance if needed. EPC facilitator should also seek to promote standardized (but flexible) contracts to reduce legal complexity. Providing standardised contracts to municipalities has exhibited a strong probability for municipality to decide on an EPC projects in other countries (i.e. Germany), as it reduces administrative pressure.
• Engaging local SMEs and encouraging them to step on to the ESCO market by organizing workshops with ESCO’s and SME’s. Present option of including SMEs through subcontracting with larger ESCO companies.
The future development of the EPC/ESCO market for the public building sector in Slovenia seems more favorable than in last years and will constantly adapt to current trends and opportunities in the national and international context. EPC will remain closely tied to co-financing tenders (cohesion fund etc.). Moreover, energy price growth observed in Slovenia and in EU in last year could expand the scope and number of economically feasible investment project and would further accelerate market development. That is, if EPC facilitators will play a vital role in filling the gaps between ESCOs, local administrators and government and help create better environment for EPC market to thrive.