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News announcement15 March 2024Directorate-General for Energy2 min read

Commission adopts EU-wide scheme for rating sustainability of data centres

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The Commission has adopted a new delegated regulation on the first phase for establishing an EU-wide scheme to rate the sustainability of EU data centres. As foreseen under the new, recast Energy Efficiency Directive, this secondary legislation requires data centre operators to report the key performance indicators to the European database by 15 September 2024 and then by 15 May in 2025 and subsequent years. It follows extensive consultation with EU countries and stakeholders and a period for public feedback at the end of last year and a 2-month scrutiny period for the Council and European Parliament.

With data centres estimated to account for close to 3% of EU electricity demand and likely to significantly increase in the coming years, the scheme is intended to increase transparency and potentially to promote new designs and efficiency developments in data centres that can not only reduce energy and water consumption, but also promote the use of renewable energy, increased grid efficiency, or the reuse of waste heat in nearby facilities and heat networks.

The delegated act sets out what information and key performance indicators should be reported. It also defines the first sustainability indicators that will be used for the rating of data centres. Under Article 12 of the recast Energy Efficiency Directive, data centres will also be required to publish information on their energy performance and sustainability (as detailed under annex VII).

The delegated act is also part of 'promoting climate-neutrality actions for the IT sector' that are foreseen in the Action Plan for the Digitalisation of the Energy Sector, published in October 2022.


The recent Energy Efficiency Directive recast sets a new binding target of reducing the EU energy consumption by 11.7% by 2030 relative to forecast energy consumption for 2030 made in 2020. The directive identifies the Information & Communication Technology (ICT) sector as a sector of increasing importance in this context. In 2018, the energy consumption of data centres in the EU was 76.8 TWh. This is expected to rise significantly by 2030 - in 2018 a 28% increase was foreseen; with the development of AI, a 2 or even a 3-fold increase is foreseen for some countries. This increase in absolute terms in its energy footprint can also be seen in relative terms: within the Union, data centres accounted for 2.7% of electricity demand in 2018 and will reach at least 3.2% by 2030 if development continues at the current trajectory. Many commentators feel that these figures are lower than what will happen in reality, given the strong growth of emerging services and technologies such as artificial intelligence, streaming, cloud gaming, blockchain, machine learning and virtual reality. For example, the IEA estimates that Ireland could see an almost 2-fold and Denmark a 6-fold increase in the electricity use by data centres by 2030.

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Publication date
15 March 2024
Directorate-General for Energy