Gas use in the industrial, commercial, residential and transport sectors
The natural gas consumed in Germany is primarily imported from Norway, Russia and the Netherlands. Following transfer into the German pipeline network and transportation through the 530,000 km of pipelines operated by Germany’s network operators, it finally reaches the consumers in the various sectors.
Natural gas is used in a wide variety of areas. According to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the largest consumer of natural gas is the industrial sector (39 percent), followed by German households (29 percent). The gas is primarily used for process or space heating purposes (more than half of all households in Germany are currently heated with natural gas). Twelve percent is used in trade, commerce and the service sector, while a further 12 percent is used to generate electricity (combined cycle power plants, CHP plants) and to store renewable electricity. As a climate-friendly vehicle fuel, natural gas is used in highly compressed form as CNG on German roads (0.2 percent).
In future, renewable gases such as green hydrogen and synthetic methane produced from renewable electricity with the aid of power-to-gas technology will play a greater role in the various consumption sectors in addition to the biomethane already available today, and will make a significant contribution to the decarbonisation of these sectors. Decarbonised gases (blue hydrogen) will also have to play a role on the way to a carbon-neutral energy system. For the expansion and maintenance of gas networks, consumers pay network charges (also known as network access fees) which, according to the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), account for 23.4 percent of the gas price. The remainder of the gas price consists of the costs for gas procurement, distribution (48.8 percent), taxes (25 percent), gas metering and metering point operation (1.5 percent) and the concession fee (1.3 percent). The municipalities receive the latter from the network operators in return for the use of public roads and paths during gas pipeline construction.