How can energy audits and energy management be promoted amongst SMEs?
A review of policy instruments in the EU-28 and beyond
There is a large un-tapped potential for cost effective energy savings in the industrial sector due to barriers to the uptake of energy efficiency. The need to overcome these barriers has widely been stressed in literature. Amongst others, information barriers appear to be very relevant for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Energy audits and energy management systems are important concepts to overcome these barriers and to help companies in achieving cost-effective energy savings. Instruments to promote both concepts have been established in many countries. Through Article 8 of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), the European Commission has further strengthened their relevance by requiring the European Member States (EU-28) to develop instruments that encourage SMEs to undergo energy audits and to implement their recommendations. In addition, various Member States have also established instruments that target energy management systems in SMEs. Instruments addressing these areas are diverse in nature, but there is no up-to-date review of them. The aim of this paper is to provide a structured and comprehensive review of existing policy instruments targeting energy audits and energy management systems in SMEs including regulatory, voluntary, financial and information-based elements. Results indicate 50 instruments are in place in the EU-28. Another 15 instruments have been identified across Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Norway, Switzerland and the USA. Within our analysis, we provide an overview of the different instruments by clustering them, and discuss the major design features of their implementation. Through our analysis, we intend to increase the transparency of the current implementation of policy instruments dealing with energy audits and energy management systems for SMEs in the EU-28 and beyond. This shall enable researchers and policy makers to further enhance policy making on industrial energy efficiency.