At a glance
- Energy efficiency of an economy can be measured using the indicator ‘final energy productivity’.
- Between 1990 and 2021 final energy productivity increased by 66 %.
- The German Federal Government aims to increase final energy productivity by 2.1 % every year.
- Between 2008 and 2020 the annual average growth has been 1.4 %. This is significantly below the target.
Energy efficiency must increase throughout the world in order to stop unrestricted growth of global energy consumption and to avoid severe consequences for the environment. The energy productivity indicator specifies how much economic output (gross domestic product) is produced per unit of energy used. Energy productivity thus measures energy efficiency.
Increasing energy efficiency also makes sense in an economic context: Using less resources to achieve the same economic output reduces the environmental impact and saves money. Private households can save money as well by using appliances with high energy efficiency ratings.
Energy productivity is assessed on the basis of final energy consumption rather than primary energy consumption. This enhances the validity of the indicator because losses in the energy supply system through energy conversion and transport do not appear in the balance. Final energy consumption includes electricity as well as heat, therefore, weather conditions and stockpiling of fuels influence the indicator.
Assessing the development
Between 1990 and 2020 final energy productivity rose by 64 %. This increase in productivity was mainly driven by the gross domestic product growth, which has also grown by around 47 % since 1990. Final energy consumption fell by 11 % in the same period. This decoupling of economic growth and energy consumption can be the result of improved energy efficiency, but also of structural change, which favours less energy-intensive economic activities.
In 2010, the German government adopted the Energy Concept with the goal of increasing final energy productivity by 2.1 % annually by 2050 (in German only, BMWi, BMU 2010). As a result, productivity was to be 31 % higher by 2021 than in 2008. In fact, productivity in 2020 was only 20 % higher than in 2008, with annual growth of around 1.4 %. This means that the target of the Energy Concept has so far been missed by a wide margin. In order to achieve the targets in the future, the German government adopted the 'Energy Efficiency Strategy 2050' in 2019, which also includes a new edition of the 'National Action Plan of Energy Efficiency' (NAPE 2.0) (in German only, BMWi 2019).
The final energy productivity indicator is calculated as the ratio between gross domestic product and final energy consumption in Germany. The gross domestic product is calculated and published by the Federal Statistical Office of Germany as part of the macroeconomic accounts. Final energy consumption is determined by Working Group on Energy Balances (AGEB) on a regular basis. Explanations of the calculation methods are published in the Preface to the Energy Balances (pdf, in German only, AGEB 2015).
More detailed information: 'Energieproduktivität' (in German only).