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The Energy Efficiency Act (EnEfG) adopted by the German Bundestag today sets clear energy efficiency targets. In addition, the Act includes specific efficiency measures for the public sector and for companies and it defines for the first time efficiency standards for computer centres. The targets meet the requirements of the revised EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) for Germany.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck said: "The Energy Efficiency Act for the first time creates a clear legal framework for more energy efficiency. The past winter has made it very clear to us that we need to keep an eye not only on the supply side, but also on the demand side. Each unit of energy should in the future be used as efficiently as possible. This makes sense in economic terms, strengthens our preparedness and at the same time helps to mitigate climate change."

The Energy Efficiency Act for the first time creates a cross-sector framework to improve energy efficiency. It also transposes major requirements of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), which is currently being revised, into German law and will make an important contribution to attaining the German climate targets.

The main provisions of the Energy Efficiency Act:

  1. Energy efficiency targets
    The Energy Efficiency Act stipulates targets for 2030 for the reduction of primary and final energy consumption in Germany. In addition, it maps out a prospective target for 2045 for the reduction of final energy consumption to increase the planning and investment certainty at an early stage. As regards final energy consumption, this means a reduction of around 500 TWh by 2030 (compared with the current level). At the beginning of each legislative term, the Federal Government will inform the German Bundestag about the impact of the Act and the progress being made to attain the targets and – if necessary – decide about the adaptation of the mix of instruments.
  2. Energy saving requirements for the Federation and the Länder
    The Federation and the Länder are required to take energy saving measures from 2024 which will result in annual final energy consumption cuts of 45 TWh (Federation) and 3 TWh (Länder) respectively by 2030.
  3. The public sector as a role model in terms of energy saving
    Energy and environmental management systems will be introduced so that the public sector can serve as a role model when it comes to improving the energy efficiency of the Federation and of the Länder. In addition, the Energy Efficiency Act stipulates the implementation of energy efficiency measures with the aim to cut the total final energy consumption by 2% annually. The public bodies of the Federation and of the Länder decide for themselves which measures to take to this end.
  4. Introduction of energy and environmental management systems for companies
    Pursuant to the Energy Efficiency Act, companies with a large energy consumption (an average of more than 7.5 GWh) are required to introduce energy and environmental management systems, and companies with a total final energy consumption of 2.5 GWh or more should list their economic energy efficiency measures in implementation plans and publish them. The companies decide for themselves how to implement adequate efficiency measures. This strikes a balance between more transparency regarding energy consumption and companies’ discretion as to which conclusions to draw in terms of specific measures.
  5. Energy efficiency and waste heat requirements for computer centres
    Pursuant to the Act, computer centres are required to meet energy efficiency standards. In addition, they need to use waste heat, which has a lot of potential for energy efficiency. Furthermore, all operators of large computer centres should in the future use electricity produced from renewable energy, enter data on their energy consumption in a public register and inform their customers about the specific energy consumption.
  6. Prevention and use of waste heat
    In the future, waste heat from production processes needs to be prevented as far as possible. If it is not possible to prevent waste heat, it needs to be used (use of waste heat). Furthermore, information about companies’ waste heat potential will be collected on a new platform and made publicly available.

The Energy Efficiency Act is scheduled to be considered by the Bundesrat at the end of October (but it does not require the approval of the Bundesrat). It will subsequently enter into force as soon as possible.