How to obtain the White Certificates for Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency Certificates reward those who implement initiatives to save on thermal energy and electricity. Find out how they work.

Published on 25 May 2020

Come ottenere gli incentivi legati ai Titoli di Efficienza Energetica TEE

One of Italy’s main energy-saving incentive schemes is that of the White Certificates or Energy Efficiency Certificates (TEE - Titoli di Efficienza Energetica), which can be traded on an exchange market controlled by the Energy Market Manager (GME- Gestore Mercati Energetici).

The mechanism by which White Certificates are regulated is structured but generally simple.  It recognises one White Certificate (TEE) for each tonne of oil equivalent (toe) saved as a result of energy efficiency projects, which have to be registered with the Energy Services Operator (GSE - Gestore Servizi Energetici). These interventions may span a broad array of measures: from the replacement of light bulbs with LED light sources to the installation of energy efficient boilers or heating systems, the use of more efficient electric motors, and heat recovery systems on the condition that these technologies were not available before January 2017.  Savings are calculated on the basis of prior consumption in the case of upgrades or revamps, and on the basis of a reference consumption figure in the case of new installations.

Actions that receive certain incentives regarding electricity or gas tariffs or national incentives are not eligible for the White Certificate scheme.  This issue is particularly complex and needs to be examined in detail each time a project is considered. Public administrations, UNI 11352-certified ESCOs (Energy Service Companies), companies with an UNI 11339-certified energy management expert, and companies with an ISO 50001 certification system for energy management can all apply for access to the mechanism.  

Other businesses or even private individuals can also access it, by hiring an ESCO to present their application and deal with the entire preparatory process.

NOTE: the project must be presented to the GSE before work begins and must normally be accompanied by a Measurement Campaign that measures both energy vectors and the actual effect obtained with at least one year’s worth of daily data. An ESCO usually performs this task using monitoring software.

In a Ministerial Decree, the Ministry for Economic Development and the Ministry for the Environment specify the targets for so-called Obligated Parties, which are Electricity and Gas Distributors with over 50,000 final customers.

Said targets are adjusted each year on the basis of the actual customers for the previous year.  

For instance, in 2019, the overall target for the mechanism was a saving of 9.71 Mtoe (millions of toe), while for 2020, it is 11.19 Mtoe. The obligated distributors or Obligated Parties can achieve the target set by the Decree in two ways. The first is by implementing energy efficiency measures covered by the scheme at their own facilitiesfor which they will be then be given a reduction in their obligations, rather than being issued with a White Certificate. The second is to purchase Certificates from other parties that have been issued them for their own energy-saving projects.

This creates the conditions for a market on which to trade energy efficiency certificates, an exchange that can take place directly between businesses through two-way trading or via a market platform managed by the Energy Market Manager (GME - Gestore Mercati Energetici).

The White Certificate market was introduced in Italy in 2005. Various adjustments and modifications made to the mechanism, as well as a lack of new projects, saw certificate values fluctuate wildly until they peaked at 480 euro/toe at the end of 2017.

The presence of non-professional operators on the market has also seen a large number of White Certificates withdrawn from the market after checks by the GSE: this in turn has put pressure on White Certificate prices. 

The White Certificate market has, however, proved to be a useful way of promoting energy efficiency and working towards achieving a circular economy in Italy, in line with the targets set by the EU for 2020. For this reason the White Certificates scheme was reconfirmed in the National Integrated Plan for Energy and the Climate (PNIEC - Piano Nazionale Integrato per l’Energia ed il Clima) in order to help achieve the goals set for 2030.

Italy is actually one of Europe’s leading countries in terms of the energy efficiency of its industrial sector.  

Evaluations are currently underway to update the mechanism and set the targets for the coming five years.  

A detailed explanation of the mechanism and instructions on presenting project applications are available on the GSE website.

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