Triple-A in Brief
Triple-A - Enhancing at an Early Stage the Investment Value Chain of Energy Efficiency Projects has a practical result-oriented approach, seeking to identify which investments can be considered as Triple-A investments, fostering sustainable growth while also having an extremely strong capacity to meet their commitments, already from the first stages of investments generation and preselection/ pre-evaluation.
The focus lays in answering the following questions:
- How to assess the financing instruments and risks at an early stage?
- How to agree on the Triple-A investments, based on selected key performance indicators?
- How to assign the identified investment ideas with possible financing schemes?
Triple-A assists financial institutions, and project developers increase their deployment of capital in EE, making investments more transparent and attractive. The Triple-A project has contributed to the upscaling of EE investments in various aspects. The so-called “Standardised Triple-A Tools” developed consist of a powerful instrument for investors and project developers, as they incorporate a methodology to point out bankable EE investments, deploying standardised methods and key performance indicators (KPIs) that are broadly accepted by the financial sector. Triple-A has focused on the market needs and the elimination of barriers that hamper the implementation of EE investments since their conceptualisation phase. For that reason, consultation procedures that include interactive engagement with EE stakeholders have been realised within projects’ activities, collecting valuable feedback on the market situation. This feedback has been the cornerstone of the development of the Triple-A methodology and the Tools. As a matter of fact, 170 EE projects inserted in the Standardised Triple-A Tools for benchmarking, 51 of them were classified as “Triple-A” meaning that they have excellent performance in most of the KPIs, while 38 completed Triple-A conform project fiches from eight (8) countries have been received, namely Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Spain, the Netherlands. The total investment value of the proposed projects over 70 million EUR.
The Triple-A scheme comprises three critical steps, with the following main outputs:
Step 1 - Assess: Based onthe Member States' risk profiles and mitigation policies, including a Web-based Database on Energy Efficiency Financing, enabling national and sectoral comparability, market maturity identification, good practices experience exchange, reducing thus uncertainty for investors. The Assess Tool developed in this step acts as a Risk Assessment Tool, checking and also ensuring the EU Taxonomy compliance of energy efficiency investments. It leads to pre-screening investment ideas at the EU level per the country's context and sectors' specific characteristics. It also considers the categorisation of financing instruments and risk mitigation strategies. The Assess methodological step is incarnated through the Triple-A Assess Tool, in which a pipeline of 170 project ideas has been inserted and assessed.
Step 2 - Agree: Based on the standardised Triple-A tools, their efficient benchmarks ,and specific guidelines translated into consortium partners’ languages, accelerating and scaling up investments. In Step 2, key performance indicators (KPIs) have been selected to agree on the Triple-A investments per case-study country from the pipeline of the previous step. The benchmarking method is based on a multicriteria classification method, taking into account major Economic, Risk (as calculated in the Assess Tool) and energy-specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) criteria. Through the deployment of this methodological step through the Triple-A Agree Tool, benchmarking and optimisation of project ideas have been performed, identifying 51 Triple-A investments ready to be financed.
Step 3 - Assign: Based on in-country demonstrations, replicability and overall exploitation, including recommendations on what energy efficiency investments are realistic and feasible in the national and sectoral context, as well as on how they could be financed in practice in the short or medium term. In-country demonstrations of the investments through the standardised Triple-A Tools. The Assign Tool developed for the demands of this methodological step consists of a multidimensional platform with numerous interfaces. Each interface is designed to cover the needs of each type of energy efficiency beneficiary, as well as the needs of investors. The analysed and benchmarked project ideas from the previous steps are introduced to this final stage to take their ultimate form: the Triple-A project fiches that are with state-of-the-art financing schemes and potential investors. In other words, this step is the last procedure that shapes the pathway to be followed by involved parties to achieve delivery (contracts, underwriting procedures, etc.). Successfully, through the platform and the Triple-A activities, 38 project fiches have emerged.
Case Study Countries
The eight(8) Triple - A case study countries were selected to promote diversity across several factors, including a leading European economy (Germany), an innovation front-runner in energy (The Netherlands), a weak economy that went through one of the most prolonged and most severe recessions (Greece), an economy with slow economic recovery (Italy), a diversified economy with a strategic geographical location having some of the largest European firms (Spain), a country that has experienced one of the fastest economic recoveries in Europe (Lithuania), a progressing country with a once sceptical stance towards low-carbon development (Czech Republic), and a country, recovering from a slow transition to a market economy, with growing regional strategic role and significant ambition towards EU processes (Bulgaria).
Set the ground for building investors and financiers confidence
Triple-A has been and will continue facilitating access to capital markets for EE investments by addressing the lack of standardisation of assets. Triple-A Tools provide a standard rating to project ideas, which is used to aggregate similar projects and create financial products that could be traded in secondary markets. Triple-A has accommodated state-of-the-art financing methods into its tools in order to be a step ahead of the market’s progress. Examples are the incorporation of the energy efficiency auctions financing scheme, which at the moment evolves within European countries, and the project aggregation in order to be funded by accumulating financing methods, such as the Green Bonds. In addition, the Tools incorporate the EU Taxonomy technical screening criteria for several sectors, since sustainable financing will become the main investing trend. Triple-A Database is expected to be used as a hub for project developers and investors that could facilitate the easy access to data related to risks, mitigation strategies and financing models, when implementing EE projects. Through interactive graphs and maps the Triple-A Web-based Database on Energy Efficiency Financing provides information and data on the following aspects:
- implementation risks of EE projects;
- risk mitigation strategies;
- preferences of investors on EE investments;
- financial performance of successfully implemented EE projects;
- financing models and instruments;
- necessity of boosting EE per case study country and sector.
Provide standardised Triple-A tools and benchmarks to effectively assess sustainable energy investments and integrate energy efficiency in investors' and financiers’ overall investments strategy
The Triple-A Standardised Package is the key element to pave the way for identifying and financing Triple-A investments as they materialise the Triple-A approach. The package's main component is the Triple-A Tools, which establishes a one-stop-shop approach orientated towards all types of stakeholders in energy efficiency financing. The Triple-A Tools facilitate project developers to benchmark their projects in a standardised way (Assess & Agree Tool) while also providing a hub to financiers, bankers, and investors (Assign Tool) to finance bankable green projects.
You can view the video here.
The Final version of the Standardised Triple-A Tools has been available online since December 2020. Important updates and continuous enhancements until May 2022. The Triple-A Tools offer:
- Identify attractive project ideas for bankers, funds, and other financing institutions.
- Benchmarking the EE projects and selecting the “Triple-A” EE investments merit attention by the funding organisations.
- Proposal of funding strategies (Green Bonds, Green Loans, Green Mortgages and the state-of-the-art Energy Efficiency Auctions policy instrument) that better match the examined investments and respective beneficiaries.
Ensure proper provision of recommendations based on lessons learnt from the in-country demonstrations
The experience gathered in the in-country demonstration facilitates and accelerates the replicability and scaling of the Standardised Triple-A Tools and benchmarks.
The findings have been used to address the Triple-A objectives, leading to concrete recommendations on sustainable investments. Triple-A project has published a series of Briefing Notes derived from actions undertaken throughout the project’s implementation. Triple-A Briefing Notes aimed to trigger cumulative actions on the field of energy efficiency investments by stakeholders in all levels (EU and national). They focus on increasing the financeability and attractiveness of energy efficiency investments and presenting societal views and benefits.
8 Synthesis papers on policy frameworks and market architectures were produced presenting procedure and policy interventions in the Triple-A specified sectors - buildings, industry, transportation, district heating networks, outdoor lighting - in the Triple-A case study countries.
A series of recommendations, 9 in total, have been developed as integrating highlights from work conducted under Triple-A activities. The fields covered in the recommendation sets are barriers and ways for boosting energy efficiency investments at EU and Member States level, risks to overcome, findings from the evaluation and benchmarking of energy efficiency investments, highlights from the development and implementation of Triple-A Web-based Database and the Triple-A Standardised Tools, stakeholder’s outreach, and engagement outcomes and lessons learnt from the exploitation strategy for the energy efficiency financing tools that was developed within the framework of the Triple-A project.
The several stakeholder groups that participate in the entire energy efficiency investments value chain are the ones that provide the required knowledge to achieve the objectives of Triple-A. These have been identified since the early steps of the Triple-A project. Financing bodies and the companies / project developers are the major recipient of all actions and key Triple –A beneficiaries. Additional target groups that enable the development, implementation, testing and exploitation of the proposed Triple-A innovative scheme for energy efficiency financing are policy makers and policy support institutes, researchers and academics in business and techno – economic fields, and other groups.
A stakeholders’ consultation strategy and an interactive dialogue with stakeholders in all partner countries have been established. Feedback has been provided in a series of bilateral meetings and online questionnaires. Through Triple-A’s activities, an inclusive and interactive energy efficiency financing dialogue with key stakeholders at the EU and national level has been successfully performed, enhancing investors’ interest and capacity building. Among others, stakeholder workshops have been organised, including 8 Regional Training Workshops with a total participation of 353 stakeholders, including 137 representatives from the financial community. Capacity Building has been realised through 9 Capacity Building Sessions in 8 different countries with 224 participants.
During the project, 557 stakeholders have been identified representing all Triple-A value chain, target groups. Partners evaluated and classified identified stakeholders according to the stakeholder engagement plan. Of the total number of stakeholders, 12% are financial institutions, 15% are developers and other implementing companies, 10% are policymakers, 40% researchers in Business and Techno-Economic fields, while 23% come from other energy-related institutions, associations, etc. Despite the difficult circumstances of the pandemic crisis, 161 stakeholders from all the key Triple-A target groups have been actively engaged via 123 bilateral meetings to get familiarised with the project and start participating in the dialogue process. Moreover, 228 experts have provided input by disseminating the Triple-A questionnaires.
Triple-A has also established its Advisory Board to complement stakeholder dialogue implemented, identify the strong and weak points with respect to the objectives of the project, support in further broaden/ strengthen the technical aspects, review the project activities and outcomes and provide recommendations during all the Triple-A’s phases. This group consisted of 8 high-qualified and well-known experts who have participated in 41 interactions among them and the project partners (e.g., physical and virtual meetings, email exchanges, phone calls), in order to be consulted on key developments and outcomes of the project.
Work StructureStakeholders Facilitative Dialogue and Capacity Building
Stakeholders’ dialogue plays the most vital role in the project. The establishment of the Triple-A Stakeholder Groups is considered crucial. Several structured interviews takes place involving regional Triple-A stakeholders in the design of the knowledge database. Regional Training Workshops in the participating countries are organized validating also the key outcomes.Energy Efficiency Financing Risks and Mitigation Strategies
A typology of risk and uncertainty factors that are relevant to energy efficiency investments and financing instruments across all different sectors are developed on the grounds of desk and market research, complemented with feedback from stakeholders through various ways. An overview on the available financial programs/models, financing instruments and different risk sharing mechanisms, as well as best cases scenarios for different types of risks and energy efficiency projects are presented. The results are being available through the interactive and Web-based Database on Energy Efficiency Financing. (incl. interactive maps and graphs, etc.).Tools and Benchmarks for Mainstreaming Energy Efficiency Investments
The Standardised Triple-A Tools are developed to support and facilitate the private sector finance for energy efficiency projects. The overall architecture, technical design and implementation of the Standardised Triple-A tools and benchmarks will be elaborated. The interoperability of the Triple-A Web based knowledge platform with several European Platforms for strategic investments is also foreseen, while benchmarks of energy efficiency investment capture the likelihood of such investments to attain expected performance targets.In-country Demonstration of Triple-A Investments
Identification of Triple-A energy efficiency projects and robust financing programs/models answering the needs and priorities of financing market actors through the Standardised Triple-A tools and benchmarks. Project fiches are elaborated that outline the purpose of each identified investment project, the way it will be structured and how it will be successfully implemented.Synthesis and Sustainability
Triple-A Recommendations summarise the key findings gained within this project, supporting the formulation of policy frameworks and market architecture. An overall Exploitation and Sustainability strategy for the tools and methodologies developed in the project is delivered.Communication and Dissemination
Several dissemination and communication activities will take place, so as to engage all relevant target groups, from the production of online material, website, publication and posts in social media to the organisation of the Final European Roadshow Event on Energy Efficiency Financing. The communication and dissemination approach is designed to allow for a continuous exchange of information and to create the conditions for cooperation opportunities among key stakeholders.
Who We Are
EPU-NTUA (Project Coordinator) is a multidisciplinary scientific unit which operates within the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. EPU-NTUA carries out research in the area of management and decision support for energy efficiency, promotion of energy technologies, energy regulation, policies/strategies and planning at national and community level, environmental planning at regional and national level, renewable energy sources technologies, climate change and sustainable development and energy conservation. EPU-NTUA has important working experience with financing institutions, previous experience in the implementation of relevant projects, as well as a team with significant related expertise and several publications in the field, coupled also through an in-depth experience in the development of a wide range of ICT-systems, e-platforms etc.Web: https://www.epu.ntua.gr
ABN AMRO serves Retail, Private and Corporate Banking clients with a focus on the Netherlands (third-largest bank in the Netherlands) and selective operations internationally. Clients are offered a comprehensive and full range of products and services through omni-channel distribution, including advanced mobile applications and internet banking. ABN AMRO offers in-depth financial expertise and extensive knowledge of numerous industry sectors. Internationally, the Group’s operations are based on specific expertise and established market positions.
IEECP is a non-profit international research institute that brings together top experts in energy efficiency and climate policy issues from various EU research organisations. The core team is comprised of specialists working in advisory roles for energy and carbon policy and market since its inception, and their evaluation, and on stakeholder consultation management practices for energy and climate policy. The research members have a demonstrable list of scientific publications (over 60) in scientific journals in the field of energy and climate policy.Web: http://www.ieecp.org
JRC, as an asset management institute, is dealing with the various types of investment and financing instruments and proficient with all aspects of risk assessment and management. As part of their business, they are experienced with creating / structuring financial products like bonds or funds for institutional as well as retail investors. With a long history of EU projects JRC has a strong network with both, organisations of the financial community, as well as international business and research institutions. JRC has a rich history and can be considered a senior player in the investing industry in Germany among SME financial services institutesWeb: https://jrconline.com/?lang=en
GFT (Italy) serves as a strategic information technology partner, which helps companies to optimize their business processes with intelligent and innovative IT solutions and highly skilled specialists, and to transform cutting-edge technological developments into future-proof business models. A major focus area is the maintenance and further development of business-critical core processes as well as the development of innovative solutions for the finance sector based on cutting-edge technological advances in the fields of Big Data, Mobility, Social Media and Cloud Computing.Web: https://www.gft.com/int/en/
CREARA energy efficiency & energy saving experts offers consulting, management and outreach programme services in the fields of energy efficiency, energy saving and renewable energies. CREARA (Spain) offers specialized engineering and consulting services and on the basis of its profound technical knowledge and experience, CREARA has become a leading expert its field. CREARA offers customized solutions for the implementation, development and starting up of policies that will optimize energy consumption and contributes to the sustainable and environmentally responsible development of its clients, which include companies, organizations and public administrations.Web: https://www.creara.es/?lang=en
adelphi is a non-profit and independent think tank and public policy consultancy. It analyses national and international environmental, energy and climate policies and carries out research projects on environmental, development and social issues. adelphi is a consulting company and think tank in Germany, with workstreams and several relevant projects in the areas ‘Sustainable Energy Finance’ and ‘Green Finance’. In these workstreams, adelphi consults both private and public sector financial institutions globally, including in Europe. adelphi’s mission is to improve global governance through research, dialogue and consultation. It offers demand-driven, tailor-made services for sustainable development, helping governments, international organizations, businesses and non-profits design strategies for addressing global challenges. Moreover, adelphi, as lead of the Expert Support Facility to the European Investment Bank’s PF4EE instrument, regularly organizes energy efficiency financing trainings and other capacity building workshops for PF4EE partner FIs, and thus is in a good position to exploit the potential PF4EE / Triple-A overlap in terms of trainings and other capacity building measures. Since 2001 adelphi has successfully completed over 800 projects worldwide on key areas such as Climate, Energy, Resources, Green Economy, Sustainable Business.Web: https://www.adelphi.de/en
PB leads a group of companies covering all financial activities in the Greek market (universal bank, the leading bank in the country in terms of assets). PB possesses particular know-how in the areas of medium-sized and small enterprises, in agricultural banking, in consumer and mortgage credit and green banking, capital markets and investment banking, as well as leasing and factoring. PB has a leading role in the national market regarding green investments, while being the biggest commercial lender in Greece and thus able to create, expand and shape the market. PB has built significant expertise and market share in the field of green banking with dedicated products, addressing both business and individual needs.Web: https://www.piraeusbank.gr/en/
UPRC is a business school in Greece currently running Departments covering among others the fields of Economics, Business Administration, Industrial Management, Financial Management and Banking. UPRC has been contributing to international research by participating in an increasingly more diverse range of EC funded research and innovation projects on techno-economic analysis & evaluation of energy systems, energy market modelling & design of new innovative market mechanisms, energy projects financing schemes, valuation of energy services and design of new business models, energy system planning etc..Web: https://teeslab.unipi.gr
Country: Czech Republic
SEVEn, is a not-for-profit consultancy company that has as mission to protect the environment and support economic development by encouraging more efficient use of energy. In the area of energy efficiency financing, SEVEn provides services to the actual project organisers, financial institutions and the grant administrators. For specific projects, SEVEn primarily focus on optimising them in the context of obtaining financial resources. For financial institutions, SEVEn usually provides services focused on appraising individual projects, from the standpoint of their technical design and the likelihood of achieving the planned economic results. SEVEn delivered, in the last few years, tailor-made assessments on energy investments to the biggest Czech banks, such as Komerční banka (translated as Commercial Bank, part of Société Générale); Česká spořitelna (translated as Czech Savings Bank, part of Austrian Erste Bank) or Českomoravská obchodní banka (translated as Czech and Moravian Commercial Bank, part of KBC). Furthermore, it is one of the key roles of APES (Association of Energy Services providers) to arrange and facilitate dialogue between investors and provider or banks and ESCOs.Web: http://www.svn.cz/en
VIPA (Lithuania) is a private limited liability company, governed by the government. VIPA acts as a national promotional institution with a focus on infrastructure financing. Main fields of VIPA activities are energy efficiency, environment, financial and budgetary provisions, financial services, regional policy and coordination of structural instruments. VIPA is involved in the programming period of 2014-2020: acts as a manager of financial instruments, implements other measures such as repayable assistance. VIPA is an active player in private investments attraction, as well as ESCO market development. VIPA also acts as a national promotional institution with a focus on infrastructure financing and is an active player in private investments attraction.Web: https://www.vipa.lt/
NTEF (Bulgaria) is a not-for-profit public organization that manages assets from the state budget, including under the Debt-for-Environment and the Debt-for-Nature swaps. NTEF plays the role of implementing agency of the National Green Investment Scheme, operating with the proceeds from the sales of AAU and from EU-ETS for energy efficiency projects, and also implementing investment programs - Mineral Waters and Electric vehicles. Since 2015, NTEF has been further conducting public awareness and educational activities on climate change. For the purpose of a more efficient use of public resources, NTEF has launched a pilot scheme for financing public energy efficiency projects, combining subsidy with guaranteed energy saving contracts (ESCO contracts) and also financing two pilot energy efficiency projects through the introduction of minimum standards, and adapting the protocols of the Investment Confidence Project (ICP). NTEF has working relationships with at least the three biggest commercial banks in Bulgaria, who are directly providing financing for the EE sector. These are Raiffeisen Bank, Societe Generale Bank and Unicredit Bulbank.Web: https://ecofund-bg.org/en/