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Germany’s gas consumption falls 14.8% from 2021 levels

Gas consumption in Germany dropped 14.8% in 2022 compared with the previous year, utility industry association BDEW said on Tuesday, partly reflecting the impact of high prices, weather patterns and political responses to the country’s energy crisis, including calls to save energy.

The drop in consumption, based on preliminary BDEW figures, also comes as Germany received much lower gas supplies from Russia amid the Ukraine war.

The share of imports from Russia within total shipments from abroad dropped to 29% in the year from 35.4% a year earlier, based on the numbers from BDEW, which represents more 1,900 companies in power, gas, heat and water provision.

Separately, BDEW had released power statistics on Dec. 16 showing renewable energy accounted for 46.9% of German power consumption in 2022, up 4.9 percentage points from a year earlier, thanks to more sunshine and higher wind speeds.

But the BDEW’s latest statistics showed that within conventional electricity production, the burning of brown coal increased by 1.5 percentage points to a share of 20.4%, and that of hard coal grew 2.1 points to 11.5%.

The use of coal partly offset gaps resulting from lower nuclear generation and high gas prices that disincentivised some gas-to-power production.

Production and consumption have to be broadly balanced as power cannot be stored.

The increased use of coal in power generation has boosted German industry’s carbon dioxide emissions by 5.3% to 260 million tonnes from 247 million a year earlier.

BDEW president Kerstin Andreae told reporters this development was “harmful from the climate point of view.”

But she stressed it was only 3 million tonnes above an agreed sector target of 257 million tonnes, which represents savings by 45% over 1990, and that the increased uptick in CO2 could be overcome if more renewables were built up.

Germany’s energy industry must reach an annual CO2 output of no more than 108 million tonnes by 2030.

Renewables provide 46.9% of power used in Germany in 2022
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Miranda Murray and Jane Merriman)

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