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White certificates as a tool to promote energy efficiency in industry

Panel: 1. Policies and programmes

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

Dario Di Santo, FIRE, Italy
Enrico Biele, FIRE, Italy
Daniele Forni, FIRE, Italy


White certificates (WhCs) or, more generally, energy efficiency obligation schemes (EEOs) are used in many EU countries as a policy measure to reach energy efficiency targets. Some of the first schemes (UK, Italy, France, Denmark) have been capable to reach positive results over the years, although with important differences, as clearly demonstrated by the IEE ENSPOL project. Only the Danish and the Italian schemes show a predominance of industrial projects.

The Italian scheme, in particular, in the last three years has produced 80% of the white certificates from the industrial sector. The energy savings are transformed in certificates keeping into account the additionality, with respect to the market and regulatory baseline, and the technical lifetime of the project (through the so called tau coefficient). The presence of a tradable market ensures an important involvement of voluntary parties and supported the development of a dedicated energy service market.

This EEO scheme, which started effectively in 2004, provides a target of 7.6 Mtoe of annual savings in 2016 and showed a progressive shift from the tertiary and household sectors and a prevalent use of simplified procedures for the assessment of energy savings, to the industrial sector and a predominant use of metered savings procedures. The scheme is thus an interesting example of a policy measure capable of achieving significant results in the industrial sector and it could be useful to analyse the main design rules that influenced this result.

Based on FIRE activities and experience, with a focus on the industrial sector, the paper will illustrate the main facts and results and how additionality, non energy benefits at system level, certificates trading, scheme costs, and measurement and verification procedures have been dealt with. The paper will also address the issues that will lead to a major redesign of the Italian scheme in 2016.


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