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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 totaled 2660 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 below 1700 TWh by 2030. Consumption actually fell in 2022 and 2023 and is currently slightly below the indicative linear reduction path.

While the BMWK data is only updated annually, the AGEB also provides quarterly updated data on primary energy consumption for the current year. At 1677 TWh, fossil primary energy consumption in the first three quarters of 2023 was ten percent lower than in the same period of the previous year. At seven percent, natural gas consumption fell slightly less sharply; however, it had already fallen significantly in the previous year (see also the section "Current natural gas consumption"). The consumption of hard coal and lignite fell even more sharply compared to the first three quarters of the previous year, by 19% and 23% respectively. This was due to a significant drop in coal-fired power generation. In contrast, the consumption of mineral oil fell by only 5 percent.

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 until 2021. Direct (via Nord Stream 1) and indirect (via Poland) gas imports from Russia were roughly on par with total net imports in 2018-2021. It should be noted that Germany is also a gas transit country. In particular, gas has flowed regularly to the Czech Republic since 2014. Since the end of 2021, Russian net imports have declined significantly, and in September 2022 they fell to zero - something that has never happened since the IEA began collecting data. At the same time, net imports have tended to increase overall.

In the last three months in which data are available (January to March 2023), net imports of natural gas were slightly lower than in the corresponding three months of the previous year. At the same time, trade with "Other" countries has increased significantly, which is essentially imports from Belgium. Meanwhile, net imports from Russia fell to zero. They will remain at zero for the foreseeable future, as Nord Stream 1 is out of operation and no more natural gas is expected to arrive in Germany from Poland either.