Germany is the largest energy consumer in Europe, not including Russia, and the seventh largest energy consumer in the world. It is also the fourth largest economy in the world by nominal gross domestic product (GDP) after the United States, China, and Japan. Its size and location give it considerable influence over the European Union's energy sector. However, Germany must rely on imports to meet the majority of its energy demand.
Oil continues to be Germany's primary source of energy, making up 38 percent of Germany's total primary energy consumption in 2011. The transportation sector makes up the majority of petroleum product demand, although the government's 2010 "Energy Concept" publication advocates for one million electric vehicles on the road by 2020 and six million by 2030.
At 2.2 million barrels per day of crude refining capacity, Germany is one of the largest refiners in the world, and second in Europe after Russia. Germany imports oil through four crude pipelines and one petroleum product pipeline, as well as four main sea ports. The country's sole deepwater port at Wilhelmshaven handles a large portion of Germany's international oil trade.
Germany has no liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, so it must import natural gas exclusively through several major cross-border pipeline networks. Almost all natural gas imports come from Russia via the Nord Stream system (completed in 2011), Norway via Norpipe and Europipe systems, and the Netherlands via four main pipelines. Natural gas use in Germany has declined from its peak in 2003 at rate of 3.2 percent per year through 2011, largely because of energy efficiency improvements.
Germany was the sixth largest generator of nuclear energy in the world in 2011 with 102.6 terawatthours, and historically it was an important exporter of nuclear technology. Following the Fukushima accident in March 2011, the German government decided to close eight reactors launched before 1980 because of public protests, and to close Germany's nine remaining nuclear reactors before 2022.
Although coal is Germany's most abundant indigenous energy resource, its role in the country's energy mix, albeit significant, has been decreasing steadily over time. However, coal use has increased since the Fukushima reactor accident since it can be used as a substitute for nuclear power in electricity generation. Germany was the world's eighth largest producer of coal in 2011. Nearly all coal goes to the power and industrial sectors.
Germany is a regional or world leader on several categories of renewable energy use. In 2011, it was the largest European producer of non-hydro renewable electricity, wind energy, and biofuels (primarily biodiesel). The country was also the largest solar electricity producer in the world. The German government stated that it will continue to shift from nuclear power to renewable energy sources.
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