AGEB: 3% Higher German Energy Consumption in Q1/Q2 2015 – Coal Down, Renewables and Natural Gas Up

German energy consumption rose by 3% in the first six months of 2015 compared with the same period last year, Arbeitsgemeinschaft Energiebilanzen (Working Group Energy Balances – AGEB) said based on preliminary figures. AGEB cited the colder weather as the main reason. Renewable energy sources moved up one place in the table of the most important energy sources, ranking fourth.

1. Energy Consumption in Total – CO2 Emissions

German Energy Consumption Q1 and Q2 2015

Energy consumption in the first six months of the year amounted to 6.720 petajoule (PJ) or 229.3 million tonnes of coal equivalent (TCE) in total. Economic effects played a minor role according to AGEB. Adjusted by the weather effects consumption had scarcely changed, the working group said, adding that without the influence of the weather on consumption CO2 emission in the first half of 2015 would have slightly decreased. In contrast, the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry (BDEW), which recently presented preliminary figures as well, also named positive economic effects as a reason for the rise of consumption.

2. Mineral Oil Consumption

Mineral oil consumption in the first six months exceeded consumption in the same period last year only slightly (+ 0.4%). While demand for gasoline and kerosene was down 2% each, demand for diesel fuel was up 1%. Sales of heating oil and petroleum remained basically unchanged.

In total mineral oil is still the most important energy source. Its share in the energy mix in Q1 and Q2 2015, however, fell from 33.5% last year to 32.7%.

2. Natural Gas

Natural gas is the second most important energy source in Germany. Consumption for heating purposes as well as in CHP plants rose by 13.6% bringing its share in the energy mix to 22.7% (20.6% in Q1+Q2 2014). The main reason was the colder weather compared with the first six months of 2014, AGEB said.

3. Hard Coal

Hard coal still ranks third in the energy mix with a share of 12.6%. Yet the overall share was 13.4 % in the first half of 2014. Consumption in Q1 + Q2 2015 shrank by 3%. Due to more wind power plants and favourable wind conditions, generation was down 4%. Demand by the steel industry for coking coal and hard coal declined due to higher imports by 1%, AGEB said.

4. Renewable Energy Sources

Renewable energy sources moved up one place in the table of the most important energy sources, ranking fourth with a share of 12.4% for the first six months of 2015 (same period last year: 11.8%). Consumption rose by 7.8%.  In Germany renewable energy sources enjoy feed-in priority in the grids pursuant to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). Besides they receive financial support under the EEG. For more information, please see here.

Broken down by energy source results clearly reflected the strong influence of the weather, AGEB points out. Hydro power benefitted from high precipitation, increasing by almost 5%. Excellent wind conditions resulted in an increase of on- and offshore wind power generation by almost 40%, while solar power remained at the same level as last year.

5. Lignite

Lignite traded places in the energy consumption table with renewables. Its share amounted to 11.3% in the first half of 2015 (2014: 12%).

Consumption shrank by 2.7% according to AGEB. The output of German brown coal-fired power plants, in which 90% of the lignite is used, declined similarly, AGEB said.

Regarding a levy the government initially intended to impose on conventional power plants to cut CO2 emissions, which would have affected mainly brown coal-fired power plants, please see here. The plan has meanwhile been dropped. Concerning the alternative measures foreseen to cut CO2 emissions that will affect conventional power plants, please see here.

6. Nuclear Power

The share of nuclear power which Germany decided to phase out by 2022 remained at 7.9% in Q1/Q2 2015. Consumption rose by 2.3% compared with the same period last year.

Source: Arbeitsgemeinschaft Energiebilanzen

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