Planning: key to sustainable energy transition

June 2020

E-mobility remains a focus of the energy transition strategies in many countries. At the EU level, the revised Clean Vehicles Directive adopted in 2019 already promotes clean mobility solutions by defining “clean vehicles” and setting national targets for their public procurement. On a national level, governments often support individual purchases of hybrid or fully electric vehicles. The success of these policies naturally hangs on the availability of charging infrastructure, both public and private. Creating it is in many respects a challenging task, affecting special planning and investment expenses associated with real estate development. Across the EU, policies addressing this challenge are only gradually being discussed and adopted. In some cases, obligations to deploy public charging stations are imposed on local governments and utilities, while a supporting and sustainable business model for operating the charging points is yet to be developed.

Dentons’ team in Germany reports on the recent initiative to implement amendments to the harmonised EU rules on the energy performance of buildings. Adopted in 2018, the EU seeks to benefit from early planning in developing real estate in order to drive down the cost of further deployment of charging stations in the medium to long term. The goal is to make residential and non-residential buildings and parking lots e-charging ready, while it is left for member states to find the right balance when putting additional burdens on estate owners and users.

The CDU/CSU and SPD parties introduced a legislative draft on the expansion of e-mobility on May 5, 2020 (Gebäude-Elektromobilitätsgesetz – “GEIG”, BT-Drucks. 19/18962). The draft implements EU Directive 2018/844 dated May 30, 2018, into German law. The new regime aims to facilitate the charging of electric vehicles (i.e. at home, at work and during everyday activities). After the Bundesratsausschuss (Federal Council Committee) recommended changes to an earlier draft submitted in March, the parliamentary groups of CDU/CSU and SPD brought forward a slightly modified version of the new bill. The first reading took place on May 7, 2020.

The proposed measures affect to a different degree residential housing, non-residential and mixed purpose estates. Following the EU framework, the regulation will predominantly affect new buildings and significant modernizations of existing ones. While the Parliamentary works in Germany are ongoing, this initiative may already serve as a good reference point on the possible framework promoting the location of e-charging infrastructure on private real estate and on the associated challenges.

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