Forecast: The demand for electricity in Germany will decline until 2025 – but probably not in the long term

The reduced economic activity during the COVID-19 pandemic means that the demand for electricity in Germany will decline by about six percent in 2020. If the economy recovers next year, demand will only increase by five percent according to a forecast by Fraunhofer ISI – and therefore will not return to pre-crisis levels, at least for some time. The decisive factors here are improved energy efficiency in every area on the one hand, and increasing demand in the sectors of transport, heating in buildings and IT on the other hand.

According to the Medium-term forecast of electricity supplied to final consumers in Germany for the calendar years 2021 to 2025, which the Fraunhofer ISI has compiled on behalf of the German Transmission Network Operators based on economic forecasts, the net demand for electricity will be around 510.3 TWh in 2021 (2019: 517.8 TWh). 502.2 TWh are forecast for 2025. This decline is mainly due to improved efficiency in all electricity-based applications. However, this effect will become weaker towards the end of the forecast period due to the rising demand for power in transport, building heating systems and IT. In the end, therefore, there will only be a marginal decline in net electricity demand, as the effects of new applications in Germany become more apparent. Post 2025, the nationwide demand for electricity could increase again.

Slight increase until 2025 for self-generated power and other final consumption

A slight increase in the demand for self-generated power and other final consumption is forecast until 2025. This is due to increased self-generated final consumption from photovoltaic installations on the one hand and limited new construction or modernization of combined heat and power systems in industry. The amount of electricity increases as a result from 70.5 TWh in 2019 to 74.4 TWh in 2025. The amount of electricity forecast for 2021 is around 73.6 TWh.

A decline is also forecast for the amount of power supplied by electricity utilities; this applies to both privileged and non-privileged final consumption (note: Privileged electricity consumption refers to the consumption of industrial enterprises that pay a lower EEG levy). According to the forecast, this amount of electricity will amount to 445 TWh in 2021 and will decrease by approx. 17 TWh between 2019 and 2025 from 453 TWh to 436 TWh. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will bring about a larger drop in the amount of electricity supplied to 429 TWh in 2020.

Electricity demand is only expected to increase in the medium term

The forecast decline of privileged final consumption from 114.8 TWh (2019) to 112.7 TWh (2021) or to 107.9 TWh (2025) is mainly due to efficiency improvements in industry, and limiting the number of companies eligible for the lower EEG levy. For non-privileged final consumption, it is mainly efficiency improvements in industry, commerce, trade and services as well as households that lead to the forecast decrease in demand from 338.3 TWh (2019) to 332.2 TWh (2021) and to 328.4 TWh (2025).

Marian Klobasa, coordinator of the business unit Demand Response and Smart Grids at Fraunhofer ISI, comments: “In the short term, we expect a slight decline in the demand for electricity. This is due to the Covid-19 pandemic and further efficiency improvements in electricity applications. Under the current framework conditions, we expect the demand for electricity to only increase in the medium term, especially due to new applications.”

The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI analyzes the origins and impacts of innovations. We research the short- and long-term developments of innovation processes and the impacts of new technologies and services on society. On this basis, we are able to provide our clients from industry, politics and science with recommendations for action and perspectives for key decisions. Our expertise is founded on our scientific competence as well as an interdisciplinary and systemic research approach.

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