Parliament Approved Bill Making Energy Audits Mandatory for Large Companies by December 2015

In early February the German Parliament (Bundestag) approved a bill which partly transposes Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency by making in particular energy audits mandatory for large companies by 5 December 2015 and in four year intervals thereafter.

1. Amendment of the Act on Energy Services and Energy Efficiency Measures

a. General Information

To comply with the Energy Efficiency Directive, the bill foresees an amendment of the Act on Energy Services and Energy Efficiency Measures (Gesetz über Energiedienstleistungen und andere Energieeffizienzmaßnahmen – EDL-G. The bill that applies to all companies that are not micro, small and medium-sized companies in the sense of the Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003 was adopted against the votes of the opposition in the version as amended by the Economic Committee (ref. no.  18/3934). For more information on the original bill adopted by the government (ref. no 18/3373), please see here.

b. Changes Proposed by the Economic Committee

aa. Companies that decide to go beyond the obligation in the amended Section 8 para. 1 EDL-G to carry out an energy audit by setting up an energy management system according to DIN EN ISO 50001 or an environment management system in line with Regulation EC 1221/2009 (EMAS Regulation) are rewarded for their ambitious efforts (which make energy audits obsolete). In the period from 5 December 2015 to 31 December 2016 evidence of the start of the implementation of such systems suffices to comply with the EDL-G obligations.
bb. Another provision was aligned to make sure that a false declaration about the implementation of the energy or environment management system can be fined.

c. Statement and Resolution

In connection with the approval of the bill, Parliament also decided on a statement and adopted a resolution proposed by the Economic Committee.

In the statement Parliament inter alia acknowledges that companies have little time until 5 December 2015 to comply with the new EDL-G obligations on energy audits respectively energy or environment management systems. Hence, Parliament recommends that the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA), which supervises the implementation of the law, gives guidance as soon as possible.

The resolution calls on the government to apply the law in such a way that energy audits of companies with a large number of similar locations are considered proportionate and representive (“verhältnismäßig und repräsentativ”) if audits are carried out similarly to the certification process for energy management systems. Besides, Parliament asks the government to examine how repeat audits for associated enterprises with little consumption can be simplified.

d. Reading in Federal Council

According to the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) the Federal Council (Bundesrat) will presumably deal with the bill in March so that it might enter into force at the beginning of April. However, the Federal Council already commented on the bill following its session on 19 December 2014 and requested two amendments, which were rejected by the government. Whether this will effect the decision of the Federal Council remains to be seen.

2. Markttransparenzstelle

The bill also extends the deadline of Section 47g para. 2 of the Act Against Restraints of Competition, which was previous set to expire on 31 December 2015, to 1 January 2019. According to said provision the Market Transparency Unit for Wholesale Electricity and Gas Markets can set requirements for the submission of data by electricity producers and storage operators with a capacity of more than 10 MW.

Source: Bundestag; VDMA

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