Source: Getty Images/Phil Boorman

© Getty Images/Phil Boorman

Funding companies’ energy efficiency measures

The programme for promoting electricity conservation within competitive auctioning schemes (STEP up!) is based on a novel, market-based approach. It provides companies with incentives to invest in state-of-the-art technology that helps reduce electricity consumption. The programme, which is part of the government’s National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency, is open for companies from all sectors, including energy service companies and municipal utilities. By providing companies with funding for the electricity efficiency measures they undertake, the competitive auctions help make better use of the efficiency potential that exists on the market. For more information about the STEP up! programme, please click here (in german).

Funding energy audits for SMEs

Before investments are made in new technologies or company buildings, it makes sense to carry out an energy audit funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Energy audits provide companies with specific suggestions for commercially rational measures to boost energy efficiency. SMEs can receive a grant from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy that covers 80 per cent of their energy auditing costs, with the maximum amount set at €6,000. For smaller companies that spend less than €10,000 on their energy bills, the maximum amount is €1,200.

In November 2017, the requirements to become a certified energy auditor were changed in a way that allows qualified experts from across all sectors to offer energy auditing services, provided they meet the strict qualification requirements. This means that the pool of skilled energy auditors from which companies can choose will be much larger and make it easier for SMEs to use experts from other sectors that they may have worked with before. A revised version of the Energy Audits for SMEs programme was published in the Federal Gazette on 8 November 2017 and will enter into force on 1 December 2017. You can find out more about this here (in german).

Funding advisory services around energy-efficiency contracting

This funding programme aims to help municipalities and SMEs to tap the potential that exists to save energy, to cut energy costs, and to provide help with decisions on how to fund energy efficiency projects. The advantage lies in the fact that the contractor bears the costs of the investment. You can find out more about this here (in german).

SME Initiative for Energy Reforms and Climate Protection

As Germany transforms its energy supply as part of its energy transition policy, SMEs are facing a number of big challenges, but also new opportunities. The SME Initiative for Energy Reforms and Climate Protection aims to help SMEs as they implement the energy transition. It is run by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts.

The SME Initiative for Energy Reforms and Climate Protection has met with a very positive response. It is therefore being continued over the 2016-2018 period and opened to an even larger number of companies, associations and energy auditors. More information on the initiative can be found here (in german).

Providing SMEs with funding for highly efficient cross-cutting technologies

The ‘Investment Grants for the Use of Highly Efficient Cross-Cutting Technologies’ funding programme helps companies implement highly efficient cross-cutting technologies. A revised version of the programme, which was originally launched in 2012, entered into force on 11 May 2016. It puts an even stronger focus on the industrial sector, whilst minimising duplication with other funding programmes. You can find out more about this here (in german).

Funding for avoiding and utilising waste heat

As part of the campaign to make use of waste heat, which forms part of the National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency, since 1 May 2016 the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has been funding measures to avoid and utilise waste heat, including for electricity generation, on a technology-neutral basis both within and outside companies. This programme is the first to offer attractive, broad-based funding in order to make full use of existing energy efficiency potential in the fields of waste heat avoidance and use. The aim is both to conserve energy and to save 1 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year up to 2020.

More information can be found here.

Funding energy management systems

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is also providing funding for the certification of energy management systems. The funding programme (in german) (PDF, 408KB) helps companies to systematically and continuously monitor their energy consumption. With this information in hand, the companies can take specific steps to improve their energy efficiency. The funding programme is administered and operated by the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA).

Funding energy-efficient, green production processes

The energy efficiency fund aims at improving energy efficiency in the production environment. It does this by providing funding for investments that increase energy efficiency in industrial and commercial production processes. This helps to reduce energy consumption and costs, to make companies more competitive, and to promote the rollout of efficiency technologies across the country. At the same time, it cuts greenhouse gas emissions and thus contributes towards environmental protection and climate protection.