BERLIN (dpa-AFX) - Energy consumption in Germany fell significantly in the first three months compared to the same period last year. According to preliminary calculations, domestic primary energy consumption fell by 4.6 percent to 3030 petajoules in the first quarter, reported the Working Group on Energy Balances (AGEB) in Berlin on Tuesday.

In watt hours, this amount corresponds to 842 terawatt hours. To put this into perspective: According to the Federal Statistical Office, 450 terawatt hours of electricity were fed into the grid in Germany in 2023 as a whole.

Energy statisticians see the main reasons for the decline as being the subdued economy, mild weather, high energy prices and the increased costs for CO2 emissions in national emissions trading. The continuously growing population and the leap day on February 29 had an increasing effect on consumption.

Natural gas accounted for the largest share of primary energy consumption from January to March with 31.8%. It was followed by mineral oil (30.5) and renewable energies (21.2). Hard coal accounted for 7.8 percent and lignite for 7.1 percent.

According to AGEB, the consumption of hard coal fell by just under 21% in the first three months of the year. Lignite consumption fell by a good 19 percent.

In the first quarter, 2.9 percent more energy came from renewable energy sources than a year ago. "This development is based in particular on an increase in electricity production from hydropower, photovoltaics and, above all, wind energy," it said.

Following the shutdown of the last three nuclear power plants in mid-April 2023, nuclear energy no longer contributed to the domestic energy supply.

In the first three months of the year, more electricity was exported abroad than imported, namely 0.5 terawatt hours (previous year: 9.5).

The statisticians spoke of "clearly recognizable changes in the structure of energy consumption". In particular, the further decline in coal use is likely to have led to a reduction in CO2 emissions of around 6.6 per cent or 12 million tons./tob/DP/zb