One size fits all? Emerging challenges to harmonising energy efficiency evaluations in a changing policy arena
Paper presented at Energy Evaluation Europe 2020 Conference, Here East, Olympic Park London, Monday 29 June to Wednesday 1 July 2020, Online
One of the strategic pillars of the German ""Energiewende"" is to push for more energy efficiency. As a part of that strategy, the government set up a large Energy Efficiency Fund (EEF) that includes heterogeneous policies ranging from large-scale technology funding programmes for industry to information initiatives for households. This paper shares the experience with a unified evaluation methodology that was developed for the fund. It presents the lessons learned from applying the methodology in three years of evaluation. The experience has culminated into a made-over Methodology Guideline for future prospective evaluators. The Guideline will be presented in this paper, taking account of how experience has been included in the development of the Guideline and what further challenges came up in the process. A key goal of the EEF methodology was to make the diverse policies comparable and to address various requirements of different stakeholders at the same time. The latter include the need to increase transparency on public spending and on the government's efforts for climate change mitigation. The Court of Auditors monitors outputs per Euro spent and asks for a clear-cut method for calculating net savings. Further reporting requirements demand specific savings metrics, while policy makers strive to understand strengths and weaknesses of specific policies. The main challenges for the harmonised methodology were the wide array of programme specifics, a changing political framework with tightening EU regulations in the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), and different needs of different target groups; a trade-off between user friendliness and legal exactness. The Methodology Guideline therefore aims to overcome those challenges, i.e. being detailed enough to cover all the most important aspects of evaluation while also being broad-cut enough to leave room for flexibility. For example, indicators are suggested rather than fixed, and emissions factors suggest a regularly updated publication instead of a table of values. At the same time, the document keeps up with clear-cut methods for many aspects like savings calculation metrics. The result is increased transparency and comparability. In short, the paper discusses the degree of desired harmonisation.