The day’s proceedings were packed with sector leaders who presented innovative ways to implement energy efficiency projects in America. Many topics were covered related to all aspects necessary to enable financing and underwriting of energy efficiency and renewable energy, however the theme of data and standards was a consistent refrain throughout the day.
Matt Golden, who Senior Energy Finance Consultant with the EDF Investor Confidence Project, moderated a panel entitled Energy Data for Driving Pipeline and Building the Market. Golden began the panel by presenting EDF’s Investor Confidence Project. “Managing performance risk and creating standards for this industry is an essential step to allowing a wide range of stakeholder to invest in energy efficiency,” said Matt Golden. “better data can reduce transaction costs and help manage risk. This is helping enable more deal flow and attract investors and building owners to this market place.”
The panelists stressed the importance of developing a standard protocol for risk analysis, so the risk and assessment is not left to one assessor. The technical community must get comfortable with probability-based risk analysis. Jeff Gleeson highlighted the necessity of helping people understand and trust when savings will be realized and when (and why) they won't. We need a more comprehensive and holistic system of analysis to predict savings and create curves that are more scalable.
Golden, Gleeson, Hinkle, Mathew and Schimmel all explained what we can do to expand access to data, both to new customers and customers' credit. In the near term we need to work with contractors who can provide a strong performance guarantee. Furthermore, there’s a need to expand our contracting pool. The exception is surrounding demand side, where having standards helps attract customers.
The panel concluded with the speakers agreeing that there’s still so much more that can be done if there’s a larger availability of data. A large part of the effort has to do with the wide range of stakeholders in this industry coming to together to agree on standards and data definitions. This process is underway with the Investor Confidence Project, and all interested parties are encouraged to join the effort.