At a glance
- Energy efficiency can be measured using the indicator ‘final energy productivity’.
- Between 1990 and 2017, final energy productivity increased by approximately 49 %.
- The Federal Government plans to increase final energy productivity by 2.1 % every year.
- Between 2008 and 2017, the annual average growth has been 1.15 %, which is significantly below the target.
Energy efficiency must be increased 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 up fewer 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 fuel provisions will cause fluctuations over the years.
Assessing the development
Between 1990 and 2017, final energy productivity rose by approximately 49 %. This increase in productivity was mainly driven by the gross domestic product growth, which has also grown by around 49 % since 1990, while final energy consumption fell by 2 % 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.
The Federal Government has set a target of increasing final energy productivity by 2.1 % annually from 2008 onwards. This target, which was first outlined in the Energy Concept of 2010 (BMWi, BMU 2010, in German only), also became part of the German Sustainable Development Strategy (BReg 2016). Productivity should increase by 28 % by 2020 compared to 2008 and by around 138 % in 2050.
Final energy productivity actually grew 1.15 % per annum between 2008 and 2017. The target was thus missed. In 2014, the Federal Government enacted the 'National Action Plan of Energy Efficiency' to reach the targets it has set (BMWi 2014).
The 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 (Destatis n.d.). 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 (AGEB 2015).
More detailed information: 'Energieproduktivität' (in German only).