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Factsheet for measure DE-2016-1/2696 Updated – measures in Germany

Federal funding for energy advice for SMEs

Bundesförderung für Energieberatung im Mittelstand

Country Germany , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 January 2016 – 31 December 2020
Context Green Transition, Restructuring Support Instruments
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Access to finance
Author Sandra Vogel (IW)
Measure added 23 June 2022 (updated 02 November 2022)

Background information

The federal funding for energy consulting aims for sustainable energy use that can make a significant contribution to the energy security in Germany and to the global climate protection. The federal German government supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with grants in the use of qualified energy advice. The grants are seen as an important tool for reducing information deficits, identifying potential savings and identifying measures to improve energy efficiency in the company.

Content of measure

Small and medium-sized companies in the commercial and other services sectors as well as freelancers with registered offices and business operations in Germany are eligible to apply for this measure if they:

  1. employ fewer than 250 people;

  2. have an annual turnover of no more than €50 million in the past year or an annual balance sheet of no more than €43 million in current year.

For companies with annual energy costs of more than €10,000, the allowance is 80% of the eligible consulting costs, however, not exceeding the maximum of €6,000. For companies with annual energy costs of a maximum of €10,000, the allowance is 80% of the eligible consulting costs, but a maximum of €1,200.

Important advice areas are energy systems and facilities as well as user behaviour. The requesting businesses should consider applying renewable energy solutions to their businesses and also consider how they can reduce the energy waste. The funded energy consultations are high-quality energy audits within the meaning of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

31 December 2020

The programme ended at the end of December 2020.

Use of measure

An evaluation of the programme was carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2018. The group focused on four goals to assess the effectiveness of the measure: 

  1. energy savings between 10% to 20% per company;

  2. reducing energy of all companies within the scope of the programme by 400 gigawatt hours;

  3. increase of implemented measures of energy efficiency to three per company;

  4. increased quality of consultations.

The PWC report shows that businesses are actively seeking consultation on the matter of energy efficiency. They were able to increase measurements for increased energy efficiency and in the process save energy and costs. In addition, the results indicate that:

  • Companies were able to save on average 13.88% of energy per year, for the period between 2015 and 2020. This equals 120 megawatt hours annually.

  • It is estimated that the entire programme has saved on average 502 gigawatt hours per year between 2015 and 2020. Including dead weight effects, it is estimated that up to 808 gigawatt hours were saved annually (in total).

  • Consultation on energy efficiency has led to the implementation of on average 2.45 energy efficiency measures per company. This is below the goal of 3 measures per company.

  • Interviews show that the quality of consultations has increased compared to the previous study by ISI from 2014. Over 75% of consultation participants considered the consultation to be beneficiary.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Solo-self-employed
One person or microenterprises
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
European Funds
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown



Views and reactions



  • 01 January 2016: Federal funding for energy advice for SMEs [Bundesförderung für Energieberatung im Mittelstand] (
  • 01 January 2018: Programme evaluation (


Eurofound (2022), Federal funding for energy advice for SMEs, measure DE-2016-1/2696 (measures in Germany), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.