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Last Updated: August 2016

Overview


Map of Germany
Map of Germany
  • Germany was the largest energy consumer in Europe and the seventh-largest energy consumer in the world in 2015, according to BP Statistical Review of World Energy. It was also the fourth-largest economy in the world by nominal gross domestic product (GDP) after the United States, China, and Japan in 2015. Its size and location give it considerable influence over the European Union’s energy sector. However, Germany must rely on imports to meet the majority of its energy demand.
  • Germany has begun a long-term initiative to transition to a low-carbon, more efficient energy mix. This initiative, known as the Energiewende, includes ambitious targets for phasing out coal and nuclear and developing renewable energy. Key targets include relying on renewable energy sources for at least 60% of final energy consumption and 80% of electricity consumption by 2050, as well as closing Germany’s remaining nuclear power plants by 2022.

Petroleum and other liquids

  • Petroleum and other liquids continue to be Germany’s main source of energy. In 2015, Germany consumed 2.3 million barrels per day (b/d), making up 34% of the country’s total primary energy consumption in 2015.
  • The transportation sector accounts for the largest share of petroleum product demand. The government has a goal of putting one million electric vehicles on the road by 2020 and six million by 2030. At the end of 2015, there were approximately 25,000 electric vehicles registered in Germany.
  • With more than 2 million b/d of crude refining capacity at the end of 2015, Germany is one of the largest refiners in the world, and the second largest in Europe and Eurasia after Russia.
  • Germany imports oil through several crude oil pipelines and sea ports. The two largest pipelines are the Druzhba pipeline from Russia via Belarus and Poland, and the Trans Alpine pipeline from Trieste, Italy on the Adriatic Sea. Wilhelmshaven, Germany’s sole deepwater port, handles most of Germany’s international oil trade.

Natural gas

  • Germany was the largest consumer of natural gas in Europe in 2015, consuming 7.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas.
  • Imports account for about 90% of total natural gas supply, and most imports come from three countries: Russia (40% of total imports in 2015), Norway (21%) and the Netherlands (29%), according to the German energy research group, AG Energiebilanzen.
  • Natural gas imports from the Netherlands were down 15% in 2014 versus 2013, as the Netherlands restricted production from its giant Groningen field resulting from concerns about earthquakes in producing areas. Germany plans to completely cease imports from Groningen by 2030.
  • Germany has no liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, but is well connected to much of the rest of Europe via natural gas pipelines. Germany imports natural gas from Russia via the Nord Stream pipeline (completed in 2011) under the Baltic Sea and via the Yamal-Europe pipeline running through Belarus and Poland. Germany imports from Norway via Europipe I and II, and via Norpipe. Germany also has pipeline connections with all of its neighbors (Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, and Poland) and either imports or exports natural gas to all of them.

Coal

  • Coal is Germany’s most abundant indigenous energy resource, and it accounted for 24% of Germany’s total primary energy consumption in 2015.
  • In 2015, Germany was the eighth largest coal producer in the world, producing 203 million short tons of coal.
  • The power and industrial sectors account for most coal consumption in Germany, with lignite-fired generation accounting for about 25% of total electric generation in 2015.
  • According to Germany’s Federal Network Agency, there were just over 20 gigawatts (GW) of lignite-fired electric generating capacity operating as of the beginning of 2015. However, in July 2015 the government announced that it would mothball 2.7 GW of the oldest lignite-fired capacity to meet its 2020 climate goals.

Electricity

  • According to the World Nuclear Association, Germany was the seventh-largest generator of nuclear energy in the world in 2015 with 86.8 terawatt hours (TWh), accounting for about 16% of total electricity generation, down from 133 TWh generated in 2010 (28% of total generation). Following Japan’s Fukushima accident in March 2011, the German government decided to close eight reactors launched before 1980 because of public protests and to close Germany’s nine remaining nuclear reactors before 2022.
  • Germany is a regional and world leader on several categories of renewable energy use. In 2015, 30% of the electricity generated in Germany came from renewables. The German government stated that it will continue to shift its sources of electricity generation from nuclear power to renewable energy sources.