This is the first company in Europe which combines the ethos of an environmental association with a financial partner as well as a technological one. A unique model matching finance, technology and environmental sustainability for a "zero-mile energy" project
RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES, ENERGY EFFICIENCY, CARBON MANAGEMENT: 'OFFICINAE VERDI SpA' IS BORN,A COMPANY ESTABLISHED BY THE WWF AND UNICREDIT
Strongly oriented towards the purchase of electricity produced from renewable sources (90%), the installation of solar panels for the production of electricity (75%) and last-generation air conditioners for thermal efficiency (66%). Main barriers to the implementation of these goals: difficult decision making at condominiums (68%), poor availability of financial resources (28%), bureaucracy (12%) (1)
Investing in energy savings, carbon management and renewable resources while providing families, companies and institutions with the opportunity to reduce CO2 as well as the costs of their electric bill. This is the "sustainable" finance business model proposed by WWF and UniCredit (partners for climate change and energy issues) with "Officinae Verdi S.p.A.", the new company dedicated to the development of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and carbon management, which was recently founded and has been operational since the end of September 2011. It has a registered office in Rome and is the first company in Europe that combines the experience in environmental issues of the WWF (through its own Foundation), a financial partner, Unicredit, and a technological one, Solon, the European leader in photovoltaic technologies. It is this particular composition of companies which renders it innovative within the sector of ESCO's (Energy Service Companies).
THE SHAREHOLDERS AND THE REPRESENTATIVES. Each of the three shareholders retains one third of the company stock and has its own peculiar characteristics: the WWF organization will monitor the environmental impact of the operations and plants; UniCredit will support the investments for renewable energy sources and energy saving with consulting services and dedicated financial products; Solon will provide the technology and the logistical component, up to the actual installation of the plant. The Chairman of "Officinae Verdi" is Gaetano Benedetto, the Director of Environmental Policies of WWF Italia and an expert in territorial management; Paolo Fiorentino, General Deputy Director of UniCredit, will instead hold the office of Vice Chairman; the appointed Chief Executive Officer is Giovanni Tordi, previously the CEO of Sustainability Company.
THE SERVICES. Officinae Verdi will operate through two business units: Families - Small to Medium-Sized Enterprises, and Large Corporations and Agencies. By means of kits that combine photovoltaic products and energy efficiency, with the support of specifically designed financial products, it will offer families and small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) an integrated and ready-for-use service that can immediately generate cost savings. Each customer will be assisted by an Energy Desk in all the technical/administrative phases, ranging from the first telephone call to the toll-free number to the design, installation and testing, up to the energy certification of the home or company.
As an EESCO (energy-environment service company), Officinae Verdi will support large firms and institutions by implementing energy retrofitting plans with the help of UniCredit's project finance. By using what is called "Finance through Third Parties", the revenue flows originated from the energy savings of the project will, in fact, pay back the financing costs and the EESCO's work. A customer that decides to implement retrofit operations will be able to benefit from a share of savings in the bill immediately, while the remaining part will repay the initial investment which is necessary to construct the plants. Projects will always start with a combined energy-carbon analysis and an environmental sustainability screening guaranteed by the presence of the WWF.
ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS. In both cases, savings will be significant; in the case of families, savings may reach over 50% by integrating efficiency and renewable energy sources, while for large companies and institutions it will be possible, in just a few years, to attain savings of circa 30-35% in energy costs. In addition to economic benefits for the customer, there are also certifiable environmental benefits given that, as is known, these are operations which aim to reduce CO2 emissions and which, due to monitoring by the WWF, will be implemented in compliance with landscape and natural environment. In the first year and for the target of families and small to medium sized companies, Newco will concentrate on certain pilot regions and subsequently extend to the entire national territory.
OPPORTUNITIES OF THE GREEN ECONOMY. In 2010, the total national energy bill was equal to 52 billion € (source: "Unione Petrolifera"). Several studies estimate that the potential for energetic recovery through efficiency operations in the various sectors can reach the following levels: 45-50% in the residential sector, 16% in the industrial sector, 25% in transportation. This level of potential translates to multiple billion euros per year, thereby representing a great opportunity for growth of the green economy. By correctly applying a policy of incentives with respect to energy efficiency in Italy, total savings in fossil fuel energy of more than 86 Mtep could be achieved in the 2010-2020 period, with a consequent reduction of CO2 emissions totalling more than 207.6 million tons, and economic savings - due to the cost of prevented CO2 - of circa 5.2 billion euros, if one estimates the cost of CO2 in 2020 to be equal to 25 Euro/t (source: "Task Force for Energy Efficiency: Technical Committee on Energy and the Market", Confindustria <Italian industrial association>, 2010).
WHAT IS THE OPINION OF ITALIANS: THE SYRVEY(2). Strongly oriented towards the use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency not only in theoretical terms, but also regarding actual decisions: 90% are inclined to buy electricity produced from renewable sources, over 70% to install solar panels for the production of electricity or to heat up water, 66% to install last-generation air conditioners. Main barriers to implementation: difficult decision making in condominiums (68%), the size of initial investments required (28%), bureaucracy (12%). These are some of the first results of a survey in progress, carried out on behalf of Officinae Verdi by Istituto Abis Analisi and Strategie (formerly Makno) on a representative sample of the Italian population of 2,000 interviewed persons, which will be made available in the next few weeks.
"The choice of WWF serves as a precise indication of the path to take for the future in the energy sector", explains Gaetano Benedetto, the Director of Environmental Policies of WWF and Chairman of Officinae Verdi. "We have created an innovative model which is capable of truly affecting the development of the green economy and the fight against climate change, not only in perfect harmony with the EU objectives and policies that are better known as 20-20-20 but also as a potential alternative to the dependence on fossil fuels and super plants".
"The cooperation with the WWF, which has seen us taking part already for a few years in the Environmental Sustainability Program", explains Paolo Fiorentino General Deputy Director of Unicredit as well as Vice Chairman of Newco "has brought about Officinae Verdi, a corporate joint venture presenting itself as a new actor in Italy and Europe, able to combine the financial lever with environmental and technological know-how; that's why - Fiorentino goes on - we are very proud of being a partner of the WWF in this project and will bring our competencies to the table in order to ensure its best possible success. The commitment of the Group in these sectors is demonstrated by a credit portfolio of 6.11 billion euros at the end of 2010. A total of 1.85 billion euros (3) has been invested in wind and solar power just in the project finance in 2010. For this reason, we are today announcing a new approach that we call Energia a Kmø ("0-mile Energy"), which combines energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and carbon management in Officinae Verdi. We plan on developing this model in Italy and then extending it abroad".
"For those of us which have been operating for over fifteen years in the sector of solar energy - explains Emiliano Pizzini, Chief Executive Officer of Solon and director of Officinae Verdi - it is very important to participate in this Newco; we intend to contribute our technological know-how also using our territorial network of certified SolarPioneers installers, which covers the whole of Italy, to best support the development of residential and corporate services. The enthusiasm with which we have joined Officinae Verdi has two reasons: on the one hand the undoubtedly prominent partnership with UniCredit and WWF, on the other the possibility of continuing to pursue, also through this project, our corporate mission based on the utmost respect for the environment."
Rome, July 5th, 2011
1) Excerpt from the survey carried out in June/July 2011 for Officinae Verdi by Istituto Abis Analisi and Strategie Makno on the behaviour of Italians concerning energy issues. 2,000 interviews CAWI on a representative sample of the Italian population (*)
2) See note 1
3) With such a figure, the UniCredit Group is the top international company within the renewable energy sector, according to the Infrastructure Journal ranking.
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Officinae Verdi: Tel. +39 06 42020497; Mobile 339/3904475;