A Call from eco Alliance: German Energy Efficiency Act should focus on ‘readiness’, not rigid regulations for waste heat delivery

The final vote on the German federal government’s planned Energy Efficiency Act is expected to take place via the Bundestag’s 2nd and 3rd readings on 22 and 23 June. The draft act, which was already passed by the federal cabinet in April, envisages an initial flat-rate delivery of ten per cent of the waste heat volume for data centres that commence operations on or after 1 July 2026. In the following two years, the waste heat delivery is set to be increased to 15 or 20 per cent – an approach which is completely unrealistic.

The Alliance for the Strengthening of Digital Infrastructures in Germany, founded under the umbrella of eco – Association of the Internet Industry, considers the draft act in this form to be detrimental to Germany as a digital location and appeals to all members of the Bundestag to intensively scrutinise the Energy Efficiency Act and to take the concerns of the data centre industry seriously.

Dr Béla Waldhauser, Spokesperson of the Alliance for the Strengthening of Digital Infrastructures in Germany, has the following to say:

“The planned Energy Efficiency Act will only manage to boost Germany as a digital location if the legislator refrains from a rigid, single-sided delivery on behalf of data centre operators, and focuses instead on the delivery ‘readiness’ of waste heat of newly built data centres.” What this means is that, from the word go, data centres should be equipped with the possibility of releasing their waste heat and, when needed, be in a position to release the waste heat with acceptable time, technical and commercial effort.

“We need a realistic catalogue of prerequisites for waste heat projects with a site-specific feasibility analysis,” Waldhauser goes on to say. Such a regulation would also be in line with the European approach of the Energy Efficiency Directive, which provides for waste heat utilisation contingent on local features and economic feasibility.

As Waldhauser contends, the current specifications in the discussed Energy Efficiency Act effectively mean a moratorium on new construction of large and thus particularly energy-efficient data centres.

“Digitalisation is the central means to save large amounts of CO2 across all sectors: be it through working from home, resource-saving logistics chains, energy-saving processes in Industry 4.0, or smart mobility and transport concepts. The correlation is a simple one: climate protection needs digitalisation and digitalisation needs data centres. With the current draft of the Energy Efficiency Act, the German federal government is preventing the construction of new data centres and is thus damaging both climate protection and Germany as a digital and business location.”

Bela Waldhauser