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Data Center Exodus

The German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection has published a draft for an energy efficiency law that would significantly tighten the requirements for data centers.
E-3 Magazine
20 June 2023
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Energy efficiency law sets high hurdles for data centers

Bitkom President Achim Berg says: "This energy efficiency law will drive data centers out of Germany." The draft bill for an energy efficiency law that has now been presented is a disappointment for data center operators and makes it more difficult to build a digitally sovereign Germany. The clear and broad criticism of the initial plans has hardly been taken into account. Achim Berg: "The bottom line remains the same: This energy efficiency law will drive data centers out of Germany - even though they are indispensable for successful digitization and for our digital sovereignty.

Achim Berg Bitkom

Data centers are essential for successful digitization and for our digital sovereignty.

Achim Berg,
President, Bitkom

It contains an abundance of detailed and over-regulation with efficiency requirements that are not planned for any other industry and that are simply not achievable as things stand today." If the regulations now envisaged remain in place, new data centers can in future only be located where waste heat networks exist or are planned on a binding basis. However, the waste heat networks have so far been planned completely separately from data centers, and conversely, the choice of location for data centers must also follow a different logic than that of the waste heat networks.

Data centers are needed where electricity from base-load sources is available on a large scale and there is a high regional demand for computing power. The mandatory use of waste heat of up to 20 percent from 2028 also de facto limits the size of new data centers because the absorption capacity of district heating networks is limited. New data centers will be smaller and thus lose energy efficiency, which is actually what is being promoted. All German data centers are also to be powered by 50 percent green electricity from 2024 and 100 percent from 2027. However, the share of renewable energy that data centers can achieve depends primarily on the German electricity mix, which is set by politicians and over which data center operators have no influence.

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