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German Energy Efficiency Act enters into force

The Energy Efficiency Act (EnEfG), which was passed by the German Bundestag in September, has now come into force.

The Act, which includes extensive obligations for developers and operators of data centres, came into force on 18 November. After the EnEfG was passed by the Bundestag in September, it went on to pass the Bundesrat and has now been published in the Federal Law Gazette.

The Federal Council's demands were not considered in this respect. In its resolution, the Federal Council welcomed the EnEfG in principle, but also called for additional funds for the Länder and municipalities due to the additional burdens that will be imposed on them by the legislation. In addition, in the opinion of the Länder, the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) should be responsible for the enforcement of the provisions on fines as a whole – the EnEfG provides for the responsibility of the Länder in the case of the fundamental obligation to avoid and use waste heat (Section 16 (1) EnEfG).

However, the Federal Council's demands were not reflected in the published version of the legislation.

"Contrary to the hopes of stakeholders, there have been no changes compared to the Bundestag's resolution," explains Dr. Marc Salevic, digital infrastructure expert at Pinsent Masons.

With the entry into force of the legislation, energy efficiency requirements for the construction and operation of data centres are now binding.

They include reporting obligations, some of which are subject to very short deadlines. For example, companies are obliged to submit information on waste heat to the Federal Office for Energy Efficiency for the first time by 1 January 2024. Electronic templates and a publicly accessible platform are planned for the transmission, but it is questionable whether it will be completed in time.

"Regardless of the timely completion of the platform, however, it also seems questionable whether this very short period is proportionate," said Dr. Benedikt Beierle, also a digital infrastructure expert at Pinsent Masons

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