BGR Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe

Energy resources

Energy resources – which mainly include the fossil fuels (crude oil, natural gas, coal) and nuclear fuel, as well renewables such as deep geothermal energy, biomass, windpower, hydroelectric power, and solar power – are an integral and indispensable part of our daily lives, as well as the foundations for the whole economy. They supply electricity and heat, provide the energy to propel vehicles, and are reprocessed into a huge number of different products. Energy resources are therefore of absolutely fundamental importance for the proper functioning of the economy, and the maintenance of our living standards. Even as it implements its “Energiewende” (energy transition), Germany will still be dependent on non-renewable energy resources for many years to come. Crude oil, natural gas, coal and uranium account for around 87 per cent of primary energy production. Geothermal energy and the other renewables currently only make a very small contribution to energy supplies in Germany as well as globally, but they have enormous potential.

Germany’s import dependency and domestic supply levels for specific primary energy resources in 2004 and 2014Germany’s import dependency and domestic supply levels for specific primary energy resources in 2004 and 2014 Source: AGEB 2015, LBEG 2015, BMU 2013

As one of the world’s most highly developed industrial countries, and one of the largest energy consumers in the world, Germany has to import almost all of its energy resources. Imports account for 98 per cent of the crude oil, 88 per cent of the natural gas and around 86 per cent of the bituminous coal. The country imports 100 per cent of its uranium needs. Because of the decline in domestic production, this dependence on imported energy resources will intensify further in future despite the slightly downward trend in the demand for energy over a period of many years. Global demand, however, is continuing to grow.

From a geological point of view, there are still large inventories of energy resources worldwide, with the exception of crude oil. The reserves (economically extractable deposits) of crude oil and natural gas have remained almost constant despite the rise in production. In terms of its extractable energy content, coal is the dominant energy resource thanks to its large deposits around the world.

Although there are still very large deposits of energy resources around the world, there is no doubting their finite size. Fossil fuels therefore have to serve as a bridge energy to safeguard the transition to an energy supply system based on renewable energy sources.

By carrying out its own scientific research and analyses, BGR improves the scientific understanding of the factors involved, and thus helps safeguard Germany's supplies of energy resources. BGR reports regularly on the energy resources in its annually updated study "Reserves, resources and availability of energy resources" (Energy study 2015).

BGR is a member of the "Energy for Germany" working group of the World Energy Council (WEC).

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