Enhancing Energy Efficiency through Effective Energy Intermediary Practices: A Report Summary

Energy intermediaries play a critical role in implementing energy efficiency programs and mediating between the priorities and objectives of such programs and their implementation in different contexts. This report presents the key findings and recommendations of Deliverable 7 of the CHANGING BEHAVIOUR project that aimed to conceptualize and understand the roles, functions, and strategic capabilities of energy intermediaries.

Understanding Current Energy Intermediary Practices

Based on the analysis of 25 European case studies and the dialogue with over 150 energy practitioners across Europe, this report examines the establishment, funding, timeframes, functions, and relationships of energy intermediaries. It also identifies the problematic issues faced by intermediary practices and highlights the need for energy intermediaries to take different approaches to address them.

A Framework for Effective Energy Intermediary Practice

To inform effective energy intermediary practices, this report synthesizes seven critical issues that need to be taken into consideration, including financial, staffing, organizational structures and cultures, knowledge base, communications, credibility, and influence. These issues raise key concerns that need to be addressed by energy intermediary practitioners.

Key Recommendations

This report outlines four key recommendations for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to enhance the effectiveness of energy intermediaries.

First, policymakers need to frame and fund energy efficiency priorities through long-term programs that link different policy domains to achieve numerous policy objectives. Second, a clearer understanding of the role of energy efficiency in addressing different policy questions is required, and more sophisticated ways of framing energy efficiency at the local level need to be developed through comparative action research. Third, energy intermediaries should learn from the practices and experiences of other intermediaries, and researchers should undertake more insider case studies and develop a comparative and composite understanding of the different ways in which demand-side programs are implemented. Finally, policymakers should actively encourage and fund comparative understanding of national policy and institutional contexts to enable intermediaries to contribute more effectively to policy.

Conclusion Energy intermediaries play a vital role in implementing energy efficiency programs, and their effectiveness depends on addressing critical issues and taking different approaches to enhance their strategic capabilities. By implementing the recommendations outlined in this report, policymakers, practitioners, and researchers can contribute to more effective energy intermediary practices that enhance energy efficiency and achieve numerous policy objectives.