Evolution of the U.S. energy service company industry: Market size and project performance from 1990–2008
The U.S. energy service company (ESCO) industry is an example of a private sector business model where energy savings are delivered to customers primarily through the use of performance-based contracts. This study was conceived as a snapshot of the ESCO industry prior to the economic slowdown and the introduction of federal stimulus funding mandated by enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). This study utilizes two parallel analytic approaches to characterize ESCO industry and market trends in the U.S.: (1) a “top-down” approach involving a survey of individual ESCOs to estimate aggregate industry activity and (2) a “bottom-up” analysis of a database of ∼3250 projects (representing over $8B in project investment) that reports market trends including installed EE retrofit strategies, project installation costs and savings, project payback times, and benefit-cost ratios over time. Despite the onset of a severe economic recession, the U.S. ESCO industry managed to grow at about 7% per year between 2006 and 2008. ESCO industry revenues were about $4.1 billion in 2008 and ESCOs anticipate accelerated growth through 2011 (25% per year). We found that 2484 ESCO projects in our database generated ∼$4.0 billion ($2009) in net, direct economic benefits to their customers. We estimate that the ESCO project database includes about 20% of all U.S. ESCO market activity from 1990–2008. Assuming the net benefits per project are comparable for ESCO projects that are not included in the LBNL database, this would suggest that the ESCO industry has generated ∼$23 billion in net direct economic benefits for customers at projects installed between 1990 and 2008. There is empirical evidence confirming that the industry is evolving by installing more comprehensive and complex measures—including onsite generation and measures to address deferred maintenance—but this evolution has significant implications for customer project economics, especially at K-12 schools. We found that the median simple payback time has increased from 1.9 to 3.2 years in private sector projects since the early-to-mid 1990s and from 5.2 to 10.5 years in public sector projects for the same time period.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Barbose, Galen & Goldman, Charles & Schlegel, Jeff, 2009. "The Shifting Landscape of Ratepayer-Funded Energy Efficiency in the U.S," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 22(8), pages 29-44, October.
- Okay, Nesrin & Akman, Ugur, 2010.
"Analysis of ESCO activities using country indicators,"
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews,
Elsevier, vol. 14(9), pages 2760-2771, December.
- Okay, Nesrin & Akman, Ugur, 2009. "Analysis of ESCO Activities Using Country Indicators," MPRA Paper 17012, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Vine, Edward, 2005. "An international survey of the energy service company (ESCO) industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 691-704, March.
- Goldman, Charles A. & Hopper, Nicole C. & Osborn, Julie G., 2005. "Review of US ESCO industry market trends: an empirical analysis of project data," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 387-405, February.
- Bertoldi, Paolo & Rezessy, Silvia & Vine, Edward, 2006. "Energy service companies in European countries: Current status and a strategy to foster their development," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(14), pages 1818-1832, September. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:50:y:2012:i:c:p:802-820. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.