An ESCO is an energy service company specialized in energy efficiency improvement services.
Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) are specialized in energy-efficiency improvement services that include but are not limited to: LED lighting retrofits, heat recovery, energy management systems, solar water heating, power factor corrections, improvement of building envelope, energy-efficient equipment, etc. Thus, they highly contribute to achieve our national energy-efficiency targets and generate energy savings in the public and private sectors in Lebanon.
To further support the growth of the ESCOs market, LCEC launched related initiatives in NEEAP 2011-2015 and 2016-2020 to provide ESCOs with the suitable financial, fiscal and technical incentives and to remove all the obstacles hindering their growth. To support this initiative, LCEC has offered periodical trainings, workshops and seminars on energy audit activities and procedures to technician, engineers, bankers and to all those involved in the field.
The LCEC has been promoting ESCO business since 2001 when it launched a nationwide project of energy audits for medium to large facilities called “Lebanon Cross Sectorial Energy Efficiency and Removal of Barriers to ESCOs’ Operation”. This project was financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It was mainly targeting the high combined consumption of energy in industrial plants and buildings, where the potential for energy savings is important and promising. Over 125 audits were completed within the project, mostly for large facilities. At the beginning of the project, 100% of the audit cost was covered by the LCEC; later on 50% by the LCEC and the other half was covered by the owner of the facility. At the end of the project, the LCEC was only financing 30% of the audit cost, when the public became aware about the importance of the energy audit process.
Only one ESCO was operational at the beginning of the project while by 2010 eight ESCOs were active and nowadays more than forty are present on the market and fifteen are already qualified by LCEC.
In 2017, the LCEC launched a national qualification scheme to support the market, promote energy efficiency investments and help stakeholders identify the companies providing energy services. All qualified companies are either independent ESCOs or part of a group with other activities. All of them provide energy efficiency improvement services of multiple types: lighting, HVAC, insulation, building envelope, industrial process, etc. Other requirements are based on company’s experience in energy audits, personnel’s qualifications, certifications, company’s exposure and reviews by clients. The qualification process is active all year long, however the LCEC evaluation committee gathers a definite number of times per year to assess the recently submitted applications. LCEC issues three times per year an updated list – which gives all ESCOs the opportunity to apply. Updates about the requirements for qualification and the ongoing list of qualified companies can be found in the Download Center (http://lcec.org.lb/en/LCEC/DownloadCenter/Others#page=1).
In early 2018, in the advent of LCEC’s work to promote energy efficiency and ESCOs’ activities, a Memorandum was launched regarding mandatory energy audits alongside with NEEREA’s feasibility study for PV projects with an installed capacity greater or equal to 60 kWp – for existing facilities only.