So far, in most European regions, energy performance contracting (EPC) has not been able to develop significantly. Apart from legal barriers, this has been due to the lack of understanding and trust in EPC, the absence of experienced ESCOs and of organisations facilitating the EPC market development. Energy performance contracting can be a very good solution to make street lighting refurbishment happen: guaranteed energy services in the form of EPC work best in cases of high energy and costs savings potentials. Street lighting is a good "learning and testing ground" for EPC due to its lower technical and economic complexity (compared to building-related EPC).

In Europe, street lighting consumes a significant amount of electricity: there are more than 56 million street lighting luminaires in operation, with an estimated electricity consumption of 35 TWh. For municipalities with older, inefficient systems, street lighting can account for 30-50% of their total electricity consumption. However, the saving potential is enormous: with current technologies 30-70% energy savings are generally possible. This savings potential has been recognised and incorporated into European policies. EC Regulation 245/2009 sets phasing out requirements for a range of frequently used street lamp types between 2012 and 2017. Phasing out means that these product groups will no longer be placed on the market and will no longer be available for purchase.

The recent market introduction of LED technology for street lighting offers high savings with comparatively short payback times. LED technologies have developed very rapidly, especially in the last few years. Today, with cost reduction potentials of over 50%, LED lighting is an economically very interesting option for street lighting refurbishment.

Moreover, street lighting refurbishment presents a unique opportunity for the uptake of guaranteed energy services in the form of energy performance contracts (EPC):

  • Phasing out requirements are placing municipalities under pressure to act: nearly 80 % of all currently used lamps types will not be available after 2017
  • Street lighting refurbishment, especially with the availability of LED and other innovative solutions that are economically attractive and offer a relatively low level of complexity, presents a low risk entry point into the provision of EPC services for SMEs

The project "STREETLIGHT-EPC" has been successful in creating demand and supply for EPC projects in 9 regions by setting up regional EPC facilitation services. These services provide comprehensive support to municipalities (operators of street lighting) and to SMEs as potential ESCOs. Over the course of the Streetlight-EPC project:

  • 63 projects were realised (47 with EPC), triggering an investment of 29 million Euro and annual savings of 28,000 MWh as well as over 3.5 million Euros in electricity and maintenance costs.
  • 12 new ESCOs have implemented projects, 8 more companies have started offering EPC services
  • project partners worked actively towards improving the framework conditions for EPC in their respective countries to allow the instrument to fully play its role in achieving energy efficiency targets.

The project team included 9 regional agencies/organisations, which provided the EPC facilitation services, 9 municipalities and a European network.

The project ran from on 1 April 2014 until 31 March 2017. The facilitation services are being continued by the regional partners.

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