At a glance
- Energy consumption in manufacturing hardly changed at all between 1995 and 2014.
- The energy consumption has been declining in the sector since 2005.
- 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 were 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 rising slightly since 1995. It was 3,744 Petajoule (PJ) in 1995 and 3,866 PJ in 2014 – a rise of 3 % in 19 years. Energy consumption peaked in 2005 at almost 4,000 PJ (+ 7 % since 1995). Since 2005, final energy consumption in German manufacturing has been declining.
During the same period 1995 to 2014, the sector’s gross value added, which measures economic performance, has increased by nearly 39 %. In other words, the manufacturing sector uses energy much more efficiently.
In its Energy Concept of 2010 (in German only), the Federal Government set targets for primary energy consumption. By 2020, it should fall by 20 % compared to 2008 and by 50 % by 2050 (Federal Government 2010). These targets are 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 (UGR). The UGR tables are based on figures from the Energy Balances Working Group (AGEB), but must be adapted to the UGR system. The proportional energy consumption in power stations is included following the UGR methodology. The methodology has been described by Mayer (2015, in German only).
More detailed information: 'Branchenabhängiger Energieverbrauch des verarbeitenden Gewerbes' (in German only).