Critical regulation: the EU Energy Efficiency Directive recast

Despite the introduction of numerous laws and initiatives to address climate change in the three decades since the first annual Conference of the Parties (COP) in 1995, they have only had a minimal impact on overall levels of carbon emissions.

In Europe, frustrated policymakers are now backing their carbon reduction commitments with stronger laws on energy use and carbon emissions management. Some of these will affect operators of critical digital infrastructure and data centers directly and will likely create standards and practices that will be adopted in many countries outside the EU.

The European Commission’s proposed recast of its Energy Efficiency Directive promises to transform how data center operators manage and report on energy performance and sustainability in Europe. The impact of the legislation is likely to spread beyond the EU.

Key Findings: 
  • The proposed recast of the Energy Efficiency Directive sets out new and strict reporting requirements for data centers operating in the EU. The proposal is likely to become law by the end of 2022.
  • All organizations in the European Union (EU) using above 3.6 terajoules (Tj ) / year (1,000 megawatt-hours, MWh) must undertake four-year energy audits, and those above 18 Tj / year (5,000 MWh) will be required to implement a certified energy management system.
  • Operators of any data center with over 100 kilowatts of IT power demand will be required to report energy performance details annually, including energy consumption, capacity and utilization, renewable energy use, storage and network traffic, water use and other critical data.
  • When finalized, the recast of the law is likely to be shadowed or replicated (and have repercussions) outside the EU.

Report Authors:
  • Douglas Donnellan, Research Associate at Uptime Institute
  • Andy Lawrence, Executive Director of Research at Uptime Institute
  • Jay Dietrich, Research Director of Sustainability at Uptime Institute

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