Development of renewable energies has been very successful over the past ten years. In 2007, they supplied roughly ten percent of total final energy consumption, a share that is threefold that of 1997.
Energy supplied by renewables avoids emissions of greenhouse and other gases that pollute the environment. To determine the emissions saved in the electricity, heating and transport energy sectors, the Federal Environment Agency has issued an account of renewable energy sources updated in both its method and content. The net emissions balance is composed of volume of emissions saved as well as new emissions- produced by upstream processes, for example. During an expert workshop held at the Federal Environment Agency on 12-13 March 2009 in cooperation with the Working Group on Renewable Energies - Statistics (AGEE-Stat), the data sources and methodology of emissions accounting applied were discussed and fine-tuned.
The results of a new calculation of net emissions from renewable energies show that the volume of emissions saved was as follows: 67 million tonnes CO2 in the power sector, 28 million tonnes CO2 in the heating sector, and 11 million tonnes CO2 in the transport sector. This adds up to CO2 emissions savings of about 106 million tonnes in 2007.
A more detailed look at the greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide revealed a net emissions balance for renewable energies (taking into account upstream processes) with emissions savings amounting to some 107 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents in 2007. This is emissions savings of about 71 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents in the electricity sector alone. An additional 29 million tonnes and 7 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents, respectively, are accounted for by the heating and transport sectors.
Due to lacking data and an ongoing debate about calculation methodology, there is no account of direct or indirect changes in land use.