Domestic gas production in Germany down as consumption increases
Clean Energy Wire
Consumption of natural gas by Germany's private households and industry customers increased in 2019, while domestic production of the fossil fuel continued to decline, the national gas, oil and geothermal energy association (BVEG) has said. Total gas use increased by three percent last year, partly due to the progressing phase-out of coal and nuclear power, the association said. Domestic production stood at 6.1 billion cubic metres of natural gas and about two million tonnes of oil, "moderately less" than in 2018, the BVEG said. Association head Ludwig Möhring said that while the expansion of renewable energy sources in the country had to be implemented continuously, Germany would "not in the least" be able to cover its entire energy demand with these technologies. "On the way to climate neutrality, natural gas will play a lasting role," he said, arguing that for the transport and heating sectors, natural gas and oil would remain "indispensable." However, so-called green hydrogen produced with renewable power sources would also play an increasingly important role, even though demand could only be covered by imports, for example from Northern Africa, Mörhing added.
Gas-fired power production is set to become a cornerstone of Germany's energy supply while the country seeks to transition to a climate-neutral energy system. While natural gas is still a fossil fuel that emits greenhouse gases, gas-fired plants have a substantially lower climate impact than coal plants. Germany sources most of its gas supply from abroad and as production in countries like the Netherlands or Norway is expected to decline over the next years, the country seeks to ensure sustained supply security with projects like the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project with Russia.