Tighter energy efficiency laws put “massive burden” on data centres – digital association
Clean Energy Wire
The proposed energy efficiency laws in Germany might place a too heavy burden on data centres and could drive them out of the country, digital association Bitkom said in a press release. A draft bill on energy efficiency released by the economy ministry (BMWK) sets “unrealistic” requirements for data centres by obliging them to operate with 50 percent green electricity from 2024 and 100 percent from 2025. “The planned requirements are not feasible for many data centres and run counter to the goals recently formulated by the federal government in its digital strategy,” Bitkom head Achim Berg said. “By (2025), the energy transition in Germany will not have been implemented, and there is simply not enough electricity available from renewable sources,” Berg argued, saying that prices would go up if data centres had to buy large shares of green electricity, which would then not be available to other customers. "If electricity costs in Germany are now driven up further by unrealistic requirements, German data centres will be massively burdened in competition and the business location as a whole will be weakened," he said.
A rapid expansion of renewable energies, energy efficiency and energy saving measures are required to achieve Germany’s climate targets, and digitalisation is set to play an important role. Germany released its new digitalisation strategy in September, which foresees the launch of an online portal with environmental data from different sources, the ramping up of the rollout of smart meters in households and businesses, and making better use of waste heat from data centres. On this last point, Bitkom said waste heat could be used more efficiently by establishing an obligation to purchase it and modernising heating networks. With 17 billion kilowatt hours per year, data centres account for almost three percent of total electricity consumption in Germany.