Indicator: Renewable energy

A graph shows the share of renewable energies in gross final energy consumption and gross electricity consumption. The share in gross electricity consumption rose from 6.3 percent in 2000 to 37.8 percent in 2018. The share in gross final energy consumption rose from 6.2 to 16.6 percent from 2004 to 2018.  Click to enlarge
Renewable energy share in gross final energy consumption and gross electricity consumption
Source: German Environment Agency on the basis of Working Group on Renewable Energy Statistics Figure as PDF

Table of Contents

 

At a glance

  • The share of renewable energies in electricity consumption increased from 6.3 % to 37.8 % between 2000 and 2018.
  • The share of renewables in final energy consumption increased from 6.2 % (2004) to 16.6 % (2018).
  • The Federal Government has set ambitious targets for the decades ahead.
  • So far, the energy industry seems to be on track to reach the targets. Nevertheless, additional efforts are needed, especially in the areas of heating and transport.
 

Environmental importance

Energy-related emissions are responsible for more than 80 % of all greenhouse gas emissions. Increasing the share of renewables in electricity and energy consumption will help to reduce the use of fossil fuels such as coal and thus the emission of greenhouse gases. Increasing the share of renewable energy is therefore an important contribution to climate protection and also helps to save resources (cf. 'GHG emissions avoided through the use of renewables' indicator).

Germany currently imports the majority of its energy carriers, whereas it is largely self-sufficient in renewables. Increasing the share of renewable energy therefore reduces dependency on the import of raw material and increases security of supply.

Losses through transformation and transmission are not included when calculating final energy consumption. Final energy consumption is therefore a useful indicator when looking at the specific use of energy in different sectors. Besides energy demand for heating and cooling purposes and transport, electricity consumption makes up an important share of final energy consumption.

 

Assessing the development

Renewable energies have seen a rapid development since the year 2000: Their share in electricity consumption increased almost sixfold by 2018. Their share in final energy consumption also showed a considerable increase. This development is the result of a successful energy and environmental policy in Germany. The Renewable Energy Sources Act in particular was crucial for this development. Between 2015 and 2016 the increase of renewable energy share on energy consumption was rather small. The reason for that was the weather situation in 2015 and 2016. While photovoltaic systems and wind power systems were particularly profitable in 2015, 2016 had less sunshine and wind.

In 2010, the Federal Government enacted its Energy Concept (BMWi, BMU 2010). It sets targets for the development of renewable energy, which are also part of the German Sustainable Development Strategy of the Federal Government (BReg 2016). The share of renewables in electricity consumption should increase to 35 % by 2010. Renewables are intended to account for 18 % of final energy consumption. According to the EEG amendment of 2014, the share of renewables in electricity consumption should be between 40 and 45 % by 2025.

Judging from the development of the past years, these targets seem realistic. However, achieving the long-term objectives of the ‘Energiewende’ (The Energy Transition) still presents a major challenge: by 2050, 80 % of electricity consumed and 60 % of all final energy consumption should be based on renewable energy.

 

Methodology

The indicator shows the ratio of renewable energy use to the total final energy consumption in Germany. The data used were provided by the Working Group on Renewable Energy Statistics (AGEE-Stat) and Working Group on Energy Balances (AGEB). AGEB explains its calculation methods for the total final energy consumption in the Preface to the Energy Balances (AGEB 2015). Explanations on how the share of gross final energy and electricity consumption were calculated can be found in the publication Development of Renewable Energy Sources in Germany 2017 (BMWi 2018).

More detailed information (in German only):

'Energieverbrauch nach Energieträgern, Sektoren und Anwendungen'
'Stromerzeugung erneuerbar und konventionell'
'Energieverbrauch für fossile und erneuerbare Wärme'
'Energieverbrauch für erneuerbare Kraftstoffe'