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    Germany's Energy Demand Dips in 2018


Milder weather and better use of energy more than offset economic growth, according to findings from AGEB. Russia dominates the imports.

by: William Powell

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Germany's Energy Demand Dips in 2018

Germany‘s energy demand in 2018 fell to its lowest level since the early 1970s and was down 3.5% on 2017, at 12,963 petajoules, said energy industry body AG Energiebilanzen (AGEB) May 6.

This was due to significantly higher energy prices, mild weather and a strong increase in energy productivity – less input per unit of economic performance. These outweighed the effects of economic and population growth, it said. According to calculations made by AGEB, energy demand would have fallen by 2.4% without the mild weather.

Oil was the biggest energy carrier, with 34.3% of the total; then gas with 23.7%; anthracite, 10%, lignite 11.3% and nuclear 6.4%. Renewables – biomass, solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, geothermal energy, and the biogenic share of waste – accounted for 14.0%.

One of the surprises was the sharp increase of the macroeconomic energy productivity by 5.2%, or 4% when adjusted for temperature, twice the long-term average value.

Energy-related CO2 emissions in Germany dropped by about 34mn mt in 2018, or 4.8% on 2017, or 4% when adjusting for temperature.

Natural gas demand was 3,071 PJ, 1.6% below 2017, mainly owing to milder weather: it was about 7.5% warmer than in 2017 and 12.3% milder than the long-term average. But the chemicals and power generation sectors also used less gas, the latter also using less anthracite and lignite. 

By 2020, the use of lignite for power generation will be 13% lower than in 2015 as a number of power plants will be used for back-up purposes only. Germany has to import around 70% of its energy and Russia has become the most important supplier by far. In 2018, 36.3% of crude oil imports came from Russia, or 53% from the former Soviet Union as a whole. Russia also supplied about 40% of its anthracite. AGEB did not give a percentage for its Russian gas imports but said domestic natural gas production fell by 12.6%.

The contribution from renewables grew 1.1% to 1,809 PJ with a record amount of sunshine hours, boosting that sector by 16.5%. Wind energy also experienced a record year: it increased its share in the energy balance by 5.6%. But over the course of a dry year, hydro without pumped storage facilities fell by almost 20%. Biomass, which accounts for 53.6% of renewables, dipped 2%, again primarily owing to the milder weather.