As international experience has shown, Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) have a part to play in promoting energy conservation and renewable energy use by industry. This exploratory study examines the precise added value of ESCOs, whether it also holds in the Dutch context, and what role the govern-ment can play in this area.
At the moment, a range of market failures and market barriers are standing in the way of greater energy conservation and use of renewable energy by industry. The main conclusion of this exploratory study is that in the Dutch context, too, ESCOs can remove or alleviate market barriers, including those cited in the framework of the earlier VEDI project. However, ESCOs have no role to play in addressing market failures, which can only be tackled by government. Effective action on this point will improve the playing field for all concerned, including the ESCOs.
The value of ESCOs derives above all from their familiarity and experience with technologies, suppliers, funding agencies, incentive schemes and so on. The main focus of ESCOs will be on medium-sized industry. The outlook for ESCOs in the Netherlands is now bright; until recently this was less so.
It can be concluded that there is no reason for the Dutch government to support ESCOs financially. Its role should rather be limited to regulating these companies and duly informing financial institutions, industry and others of their existence.