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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. In 2022, consumption decreased again slightly compared to 2021, but it is above the indicative linear reduction path.

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 four quarters of 2022, fossil primary energy consumption was 2589 TWh, slightly lower as in the corresponding period in 2021. At the same time, natural gas consumption fell by 15 percent. This is likely to be due, among other things, to a milder winter and thus lower heating energy demand at the beginning of 2022, but also to a reduction in demand as a result of the significant rise in prices caused by Russia's attack on Ukraine (see also the section "Current natural gas consumption"). By contrast, consumption of other fossil primary energy sources increased, by five percent for both hard coal and lignite.

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 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 where data are available (August to October 2022), net imports of natural gas have been significantly higher than the corresponding three months of the previous year. Not only have imports from Norway increased significantly, but also trade with "Other" countries, which means essentially imports from Belgium (if this continues for longer, we will show Belgium separately). Meanwhile, net imports from Russia fell sharply. In the future, they will be zero for the foreseeable future, as Nord Stream 1 is out of operation and no more natural gas is likely to arrive in Germany from Poland either.


Last update: 2023-01-02