500 energy-efficiency networks to be established up to 2020
On 3 December 2014, the Federal Government signed an agreement with business associations and organisations on the nationwide introduction of energy-efficiency networks. The alliance aims to set up approx. 500 new networks by 2020, thereby making an important contribution towards boosting energy efficiency in industry, the crafts, trade and commerce.
Implementing the initiative
To date, some 20 associations and organisations from the German business community have signed up to take part the initiative, alongside the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.
In 2015, practical guidelines were developed which further flesh out the agreement made to set up and implement networks. A coordinating office was also set up in the same year and commenced activities in December (contact hotline: +49 30 72 61 65 627). It will act as a point of contact for networks and potential initiators of networks and will undertake a range of different tasks. These include registering and verifying new networks, organising coordination processes between partners financing the initiative, and coordinating public relations activities. The office is being operated by the German Energy Agency (dena) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Since the initiative was first launched, just under 40 networks have been set up. Partners of the initiative are working together to help increase the rate at which new networks are founded.
During Germany's G7 Presidency in 2015, the Federal Government and the business community worked to promote the concept of energy-efficiency networks at international level. In 2016, global dialogue on energy-efficiency networks and similar approaches is being continued within the framework of the .
An energy-efficiency network consists of 8 to 15 companies. In an analysis of the potential, undertaken at the outset of the network activities, an experienced energy consultant helps companies to pinpoint ways to boost energy efficiency. On the basis of this analysis, each company sets itself a conservation target, and backs this up with action. The overall network also sets itself an efficiency target for the duration of the network activities. During the network process, a regular moderated dialogue takes place in which the participating company representatives exchange experience and ideas.
Participation in an energy-efficiency network enables the company representatives to plan and implement investment in energy efficiency on the basis of solid data. Results from a network project funded by the Federal Government have shown that the participating companies make significantly better improvements in their energy efficiency after three to four years than the average for their sector.
The business associations and organisations signing up to the initiative have agreed to foster the spread of energy-efficiency networks amongst companies throughout its entire term, not least by serving as initiators of networks. The government is providing vigorous backing in order to make a success of the initiative, e.g. in the form of information and instruments for practical implementation. Implementation of the agreement will be subjected to annual monitoring from 2017 onwards (at which point the first networks will have progressed on to the stage of implementing measures).