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Schemes based on White Certificates are considered effective market tools to promote energy savings in Countries where energy efficiency targets exist and is required to monitor and verify the attainment of said objectives. These mechanisms are based on the possibility to demonstrate the achievement of a given energy efficiency target through the possession of Certificates issued after the verification of the amount of energy saved by or more projects. White Certificates are transferable titles, that means the party obliged to reach a given target of energy saving may choose between the options either to directly implement the projects “producing” the required amount of White Certificates, or to purchase the Certificates from another agent who has already developed one or more energy efficient initiatives. The reasons that led the Governments of Countries like Great Britain, Italy, France, Australia (New South Wales), to adopt these instruments can be summarized as follows: – Conformity to Kyoto requirements. – Need to certify an attribute (energy efficiency), which is a volatile and hardly measurable entity, rather than a product itself. – New opportunities within an existing and more general “environmental commodities market”, that already includes Green Certificates and Emission trading. – Wide public consent/approval, due to the positive image related to energy savings and environmental issues White Certificates offer a number of practical benefits to all parties involved: – For Regulatory Authorities, they can be an easy-to-verify way to track compliance with policy targets. – For parties obliged to comply with targets, they offer a second chance to achieve compliance at least cost, as an alternative to ‘in-house’ actions. – For those able to create and sell certificates, they represent an additional stream of revenues independent of the core business, thus offering hedging and risk-management benefits in addition to direct financial rewards. Wide opinion is that establishing a marketplace for such certificates would be a way to facilitate the alignment between supply and demand in this particular sector. It also seems to show other interesting benefits, by responding to societal and community needs while respecting the commercial interests of the actors subject to mandatory obligations. This approach has already proved in practice to be more dynamic, more effective and more efficient than legal obligations alone, notably in the field of Renewable Energy
Commitment trading. Trading in certificates is an effective way to combine a guarantee of results from regulation with the economic efficiency of market-based instruments. It is thus consistent with the principles of a liberalised market framework. Finally, the recently issued European Union Directive 2006/32/EC on energy end-use efficiency and energy services sets for Member States indicative energy efficiency targets to be reached by way of energy services and other energy efficiency improvement measures. The same Directive refers to the White Certificates as a suitable tool to promote and lend appeal to implementation of the relevant programmes. National energy policy makers agree on the importance of deeper knowledge of schemes on White Certificates adopted at present in the other countries, aimed at comparison among experiences and improvement of already established procedures. This knowledge was hindered in the past by limited information flow; to this purpose, the International Energy Agency Demand Side Management Programme (IEA DSM) created an annex called Task XIV: Market mechanisms for White Certificates Trading. Task XIV was charged with analysing and comparing international experiences gained in the sector of market instruments finalised at encouraging energy savings policies. The present contribution is mainly devoted to a review of the driving principles of the White Certificates, the possible implementation options and a comparison on the most interesting or critical national approaches on that. This article is based on the work of Task XIV "Market mechanisms for White Certificates Trading" of the International Energy Agency Implementing Agreement on Demand Side Management (Operating Agent: Antonio Capozza)
31 Dicembre 2006
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