Germany’s innovative “STEP up!” electrical efficiency funding program entered its third round at the start of March, this time with separate funds on offer for increased electrical efficiency in data centers.
The program, which is run by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), funds measures to improve electrical efficiency through competitive tendering rounds. The program is in principle open to all technologies and actors, including energy service providers and municipal utilities. Interested parties submit project proposals in rounds and funding decisions are made by considering the cost-benefit ratio, i.e. euro funded per kWh of electricity saved. The better the ratio, the better the chances of receiving funding.
Any project that promises improved electrical efficiency can be submitted under the “open” calls. EUR 300 million is available for the pilot phase, which runs until the end of 2018. As in the previous rounds, funding is also being offered with particularly attractive competitive conditions in a “closed” call aimed at measures in a specific field or target group. Previous closed calls have focused on energy contracting and the renovation of Germany’s 680,000 elevators.
Electrical efficiency in data centers is the topic of this round. Data centers are one of the biggest users of electricity in the IT field. With the economy becoming increasingly digitized, this consumption is set to grow. Despite improvements in the energetic performance of IT components, investment in infrastructure such as cooling and ventilation systems has lagged, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy notes in the funding announcement.