Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) is a form of ‘creative financing’ for capital improvement which allows funding energy upgrades from cost reductions. Under an EPC arrangement an external organisation (ESCO) implements a project to deliver energy efficiency, or a renewable energy project, and uses the stream of income from the cost savings, or the renewable energy produced, to repay the costs of the project, including the costs of the investment. Essentially the ESCO will not receive its payment unless the project delivers energy savings as expected.
The approach is based on the transfer of technical risks from the client to the ESCO based on performance guarantees given by the ESCO. In EPC ESCO remuneration is based on demonstrated performance; a measure of performance is the level of energy savings or energy service. EPC is a means to deliver infrastructure improvements to facilities that lack energy engineering skills, manpower or management time, capital funding, understanding of risk, or technology information. Cash-poor, yet creditworthy customers are therefore good potential clients for EPC. Figure 1 illustrates the concept.