In its decisions formulated in 2010/2011, the German federal government set out ambitious targets for increasing energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To progress towards these targets, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) has launched numerous new tools and measures under its National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NAPE), based on the principle of “information – promotion – funding”. One of the top three initiatives is the “Energy Efficiency Networks Campaign”, a joint action group comprising the federal government and, to date, 22 associations and organisations from industry. The approach of the networks campaign is to motivate companies to form collaborative energy efficiency networks. This is because greater energy efficiency potential can be unleashed by collaborating in networks, since synergy effects arise, competencies can be bundled together, and everyone can learn from the other stakeholders involved. The aim of the networks campaign is to support the foundation of around 500 new energy efficiency networks by the end of 2020, thereby saving up to 75 petajoules of primary energy or 5 million tons of GHG emissions.
The Energy Efficiency Networks Campaign helps companies to exchange information and implement energy efficiency measures in networks between industries, within industries, or within companies. Over 2,000 companies in all industries and of all sizes have already registered with the networks campaign since the project was launched, and are working in around 250 energy efficiency networks to optimise their own energy efficiency. Together with the federal government and the 22 partner associations, the dena office is supporting the networks campaign, offering both expert advice and organisational help. Its work includes organisational operations involving the networks and supporting institutions, reinforcement activities with regional coordinators, regional states and specialist stakeholders, and the specialist development of networking activities. In addition, the office functions as the first point of contact for interested parties. It is also concerned with preparing and putting on events, with press and publicity work such as operating the internet portal www.effizienznetzwerke.org, and with creating information and work resources.
After the successful initial phase of the project, the office’s work has taken on a new structure in consultation with the BMWi and the supporting associations since the beginning of 2019, and extended until December 2020. Various reinforcement measures have been developed for the second project phase, which are intended to help launch additional energy efficiency networks.
The commitment of all 25 project partners and their regional and specialist collaborative partners has several objectives: to disseminate the network idea more widely, to support all the network players as effectively as possible, and to increase the success of the campaign and all its associated networks. It seems to be succeeding, as monitoring to date shows that, based on the forward projections of the effects measured so far, there may well already be a need for considerably fewer energy efficiency networks to achieve the target values set by the federal government – saving 75 petajoules of energy and 5 million tons of CO2.