Wind power stations of German utility RWE, one of Europe's biggest electricity companies are pictured in front of RWE's brown coal fired power plants of Neurath near Jackerath, north-west of Cologne, Germany, March 18, 2022. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
German primary energy consumption should fall by 2.7% year-on-year in 2022 as high prices discourage higher usage and drive investments in energy efficiency, industry statistics group AGEB said on Wednesday, recording a similar decline in the first nine months.
Faced with the worst energy crisis since the oil shock of the 1970s, Germany is encouraging lower consumption as it scrambles to find alternative gas suppliers to Russia and to help consumers struggling with record high energy bills.
In its January to September 2022 report, AGEB said Europe's biggest economy used 292.2 million tonnes of coal equivalent - an industry standard measure - in the period, down from 300.2 million tonnes a year earlier.
"The decrease is mainly due to savings resulting from higher energy prices and warmer weather," it said in a press release.
Primary energy refers to raw energy sources such as fossil fuels and renewables not converted into other forms.
Consumption in 2021 as a whole was at 416.1 million tonnes, up 2.6% on the year before due to relatively cold weather and the economic recovery from the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Supporting energy usage, the first nine months of 2022 were characterised by a rise in the population by 1.1% and an increase in gross domestic product (GDP) by 1.9% but the latter metric is expected to fall in the fourth quarter, AGEB said.
Post COVID-19 recovery in the transport sector drove consumption of crude oil and products higher, it added.
In power generation, more coal was used because of high gas prices and because weather patterns and closure of nuclear reactors curbed hydroelectric and nuclear output.
This pushed up CO2 emissions by 2% in January to September, AGEB said, estimating that in the full year, emissions should fall by just over 1%.