12 Oct 2020, 13:33
Benjamin Wehrmann

Germany's power use returns to pre-pandemic levels

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Clean Energy Wire

Power consumption levels in Germany have almost reached pre-pandemic levels again, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports. Daily consumption in the first week of October averaged more than 1.3 terawatt hours (TWh), corresponding to the daily average between 2016 and 2019, figures by energy industry group BDEW indicate. This points to an economic recovery, as industrial companies account for up to 45 percent of Germany's electricity consumption, followed by other commercial users and private households. Other indicators, such as the kilometres travelled by commercial freight vehicles, also suggest a strong recovery, the article adds.

Power consumption had remained depressed for four months between April and July before picking up again in August. According to a press releasev by BDEW, this caused the German energy industry's greenhouse gas emissions to decline by 36 million tonnes during the first three quarters of the year compared to the same period last year, a decrease of 22 percent. According to the energy industry group, this was both due to lower demand and to a higher share of renewable power. However, BDEW head Kerstin Andreae stated that "we acknowledge that a huge part of this year's reduction is caused by the pandemic”.

The coronavirus crisis could mean Germany reaches its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent between 1990 and 2020, while other targeted measures introduced last year would have been insufficient, a government report found. Halted production lines and low demand and mobility both at home and abroad during the lockdown meant much lower emissions across the board. Renewables covered about half of Germany’s power consumption in the first six months of the year, while coal production plummeted. Overall energy use could drop by up to 12 percent if the pandemic leads to another economic lockdown situation, energy market research group AG Energiebilanzen (AGEB) found.

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