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Sector Coupling

Natural gas becomes industry’s main source of energy

In 2017, 12.3% of gross electricity production in Germany was generated by the mining and manufacturing industries, with the use of natural gas on the rise and the use of black and brown coal on the decline.

13 Oct. 2018
HMI-ID09-090ds_Destatis
Natural gas becomes industry’s main source of energy (Photo: Destatis)

These are the latest findings of the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). In total, industrial companies have produced 57 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity. The share of industrial electricity in the gross electricity production reported has therefore risen by 3.1% since 2007. Although industrial power plants primarily generate electricity for their own use, the electricity they generate is often also supplied to other companies or fed into the public grid, the statisticians explain.

A fundamental shift in energy sources is being observed: Since 2007, the share of natural gas in energy generation has rise from 31.7% to 48.6%, while the share of black and brown coal over the same period has fallen from 30.4% to 13.2%. At the bottom of the table comes hydropower, with just 0.3%. In a breakdown by sector, 30% of the industrial electricity generated in 2017 came from the chemical industry, 20% from metal production and processing, and 13% from the manufacture of paper, cardboard, and related products.

In an article for German publication ‘Energiewirtschaftlichen Tagesfragen’ , economic historian Dr. Dietmar Bleidick explains how the electricity industry has always been characterized by a dual system, in which industry often covers its internal needs through the electricity it generates.