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Energy Consumption

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Fossil energy primary consumption

The coalition agreement mentions the goal of climate neutrality by 2045 in several places; in addition, the energy infrastructure is to be allowed to run only on non-fossil fuels beyond 2045. From goals, it can be deduced that the coalition is aiming to entirely end the consumption fossil energy sources by 2045. However, a precise time path is not specified for this target. According to data from the BMWK and the AGEB, consumption of mineral oil, lignite and hard coal has declined significantly in recent years. In contrast, the consumption of natural gas has hardly decreased, with significant annual fluctuations. In 2021, fossil primary energy consumption still totaled just under 2600 TWh, with mineral oil still accounting for the largest share. In 2020, consumption was even lower, caused by the pandemic. Assuming a linear reduction path, fossil primary energy consumption would have to fall by just under 40 percent to a good 1600 TWh by 2030.

While the BMWK data are only updated annually, the AGEB also provides quarterly updated data on primary energy consumption for the respective current year. In the first half of 2022, fossil primary energy consumption, at just under 1300 TWh, was almost as high as in the first half of 2021, i.e. it has hardly decreased further. At the same time, natural gas consumption fell by fifteen percent. This is likely to be due not only to a milder winter and thus lower heating energy demand in 2022, but also to a reduction in demand as a result of the significant rise in prices caused by Russia's attack on Ukraine. By contrast, consumption of other fossil primary energy sources increased, by nine and eleven percent for hard coal and lignite respectively.

Security of Supply

In the subsection on gas and hydrogen, the coalition agreement includes a statement that the government wants to diversify the energy supply for Germany and Europe. Yet, no quantitative target is mentioned. However, at the latest after Russia's attack on Ukraine in February 2022, it is clear that dependence on Russian natural gas imports in particular is to be reduced quickly. In the following graph, we show how monthly natural gas imports have developed since 2010. We use monthly data on gross flows at individual border crossing points provided by IEA. The graph shows countries grouped by net imports and net exports, as well as total net imports. The country-specific net values were calculated by subtracting monthly German (gross) exports to a given country from (gross) imports from the same country. Please note that there are some discrepancies as well as definitional ambiguities between different types of natural gas statistics, see also this online discussion (in German).

Dependence on Russian natural gas imports has grown significantly in recent years. Direct (via Nord Stream 1) and indirect (via Poland) gas imports from Russia have been in the same order of magnitude as total net imports between 2018-2021. It should be noted that Germany is also a gas transit country. In particular, gas has been flowing regularly to the Czech Republic since 2014. Since the end of 2021, Russian net imports have decreased substantially. In July 2022, they were as low as they had last been in September 2012. At the same time, net imports have increased overall.

In the last three months in which data are available (May to July 2022), net imports of natural gas were markedly higher than over the corresponding three months of the previous year. Imports from Norway in particular have increased substantially, and net exports have also turned into net imports in trade with "Other" countries (Belgium is particularly relevant here). Meanwhile, net imports from Russia decreased substantially, as no more natural gas arrived via Poland and imports via Nord Stream 1 also declined.


Last update: 2022-09-27