BGR Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe

Energy resources

Energy resources - made up of the fossil energy resources crude oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear fuels, and renewable energy, including deep geothermal energy - are crucial for our daily lives and the economy as a whole. They generate power and heat, can be used as transport fuel, and are reprocessed into a large number of products. The reliable and uninterrupted provision of energy is an essential prerequisite for the proper functioning of today's modern societies.

As a highly-developed industrial nation, Germany is one of the largest energy consumers in the world. Germany is currently expanding the generation capacities for primary energy from renewable sources as part of the implementation of its energy transition, and to comply with the obligations inherent in the Paris Climate Treaty signed in 2015. However, around 80 % of its primary energy consumption still has to be provided by fossil fuels. Given the decline in production from domestic conventional crude oil and natural gas fields, and the imminent end of subsidised coal mining, there is a continuing decline in the level of self-sufficiency. Against this background, there is currently no foreseeable reduction in Germany's high dependency on imported fossil fuels. From a geological point of view, there are still large reserves world-wide of all energy resources, with the exception of conventional crude oil. The reserves (economically producible deposits) of crude oil have risen despite a rise in production. Most of the other energy resources also experienced growth in reserves although at a smaller level. In terms of extractable energy content, coal is the dominant energy resource thanks to its very large global deposits.

Import-dependency and domestic supply level in Germany of specific primary energy resources in 2006 and 2016Import-dependency and domestic supply level in Germany of specific primary energy resources in 2006 and 2016 Source: BGR, AGEB 2017, BMU 2013

Although the earth still has very large deposits of energy resources, there is no disputing that they only have a finite lifetime. The job of fossil energy resources is therefore to act as a bridge energy to safeguard the transition to an energy supply system based on renewable energy resources.

By undertaking its own scientific research and analysis, BGR makes a contribution to enhancing scientific understanding, and thus plays a part in safeguarding Germany's supplies of energy resources. BGR issues a regular report on energy resources in the form of its annually updated Energy Study "Data and Developments Concerning German and Global Energy Supplies” (BGR Energy Study 2017).

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

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