At a glance
- Energy consumption in manufacturing hardly changed at all between 1995 and 2018.
- In 2018, energy consumption in the industry sector amounted to 3.942 Petajoules, which was roughly the same level than in previous years.
- Germany’s primary energy consumption should fall by 50 % by 2050. The manufacturing sector will have to contribute to it.
Energy consumption is a major contributor to various environmental problems. Mining raw material and building transport infrastructure involves massive interference with ecosystems. Furthermore, the use of fossil energy sources is the main driver of climate change. To mitigate these problems, energy consumption must fall.
Manufacturing is the main consumer of energy in Germany, alongside private households. Since 1995, its share of primary energy consumption has been a quarter of overall consumption. In addition, there is proportional energy consumption in power stations because the industry receives and uses a large proportion of the electricity and heat produced in power stations. This so called indirect energy consumption is included in the indicator.
The indicator does not tell us whether energy-intensive production processes have been outsourced abroad. If that would be the case, domestic consumption would fall, whereas the environmental impact of high energy consumption would be felt abroad. New indicators that take such exports of the environmental impact into account are being developed.
Assessing the development
Energy consumption of the German manufacturing sector has been slightly rising between 1995 and 2018. It was 3,744 Petajoule (PJ) in 1995 and 3,942 PJ in 2017. This is an increase of about 5 % in 23 years. Since 2010, final energy consumption in German manufacturing has remained at a more or less constant level, despite a rise in 2017.
In contrast, the sector’s gross value added, which measures economic performance, has increased by around 37 % (adjusted for price) during the same period. In other words, the manufacturing sector uses energy much more efficiently.
In its Energy Concept, the Federal Government set targets for primary energy consumption (BMWi, BMU 2010). By 2020, it should fall by 20 % compared to 2008 and until 2050 by 50 %. The target for 2020 will probably be missed. The target for 2050 is barely achievable if the manufacturing sector does not lower its energy consumption. There is still a lot of unused potential, in particular in energy efficiency.
The indicator is based on figures from the Environmental-Economic Accounting (EEA) of the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). The EEA tables are based on figures from the Energy Balances Working Group, but must be adapted to the EEA system. The proportional energy consumption in power stations is included following the EEA methodology. The methodology has been described by Mayer 2015 (in German only).
More detailed information: 'Branchenabhängiger Energieverbrauch des verarbeitenden Gewerbes' (in German only).