eco Alliance for Digital Infrastructures: New Draft German Energy Efficiency Act More Realistic, but Heating Network Operators Must Be Held More Accountable

Dr. Béla Waldhauser, Spokesperson for the Alliance for the Strengthening of Digital Infrastructures in Germany, founded under the umbrella of eco – Association of the Internet Industry, comments on the new draft act for an energy efficiency law that was released this Monday, 3 April 2023.

“While the first draft of the new German Energy Efficiency Act, in our view, missed the technical and economic realities of the data centre industry in essential aspects, the revised draft now available at least offers a basis for discussion, as some of our fundamental points of criticism of the first version have been addressed.

“Admittedly, the adjustment of the waste heat delivery obligation from the previous 30-40 per cent to the current staggered 10, 15 and, from 1 July 2028, 20 per cent waste heat is an important step in the right direction. Unfortunately, the obligation remains unimplementable, as seasonal fluctuations between summer and winter demand for waste heat remain unconsidered in the new draft act.”

The prerequisite for a legal obligation to use waste heat should always be the prior examination of site-specific feasibility, practicability and reasonableness. At the same time, the heat network operators as well as property owners must be more involved as consumers so that the waste heat made available is actually taken and used, Waldhauser continued.

Compared to the last draft, the industry sees the extended exemption regulation for the obligation to use waste heat generated in data centres as positive, which now also includes an obligation for municipal heat suppliers to cooperate. “This now needs to be properly extended, because the burden of proof of a lack of interest in a waste heat cooperation despite existing preconditions should not lie with the data centre operators. In this regard, an active duty of cooperation on the part of the heat suppliers is required. Likewise, the requirement for data centres to ‘assume’ the sufficient capacity of the heat network when heat network operators refuse to provide information about it should be urgently adjusted.

“We continue to be critical of the unchanged burdensome documentation requirements, which are neither related to energy and water consumption nor to the efficiency of these resources, as well as the still indifferent definition and differentiation of data centres from network nodes and cloud providers. From our point of view, the legislator still needs to make improvements,” says Waldhauser.

More about the eco Alliance for the Strengthening of Digital Infrastructures in Germany



Bela Waldhauser

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