Germany has a strong commitment to protecting its environment. It has actively promoted the use of renewable energy, both under the Kohl government with the Electricity Feed Law, and now under Schroeder's government with eco-taxes. However, Germany’s reliance on coal, particularly brown coal, for electricity generation and the heavy industrialization of the economy has lead to serious problems with air pollution, acid rain, and habitat degradation. These problems are particularly acute in the former East Germany.
As of 2003, Germany had 7.4 billion short tons (Bst) of recoverable coal reserves. Over 97 percent of these coal reserves are lignite (brown coal), with the remainder composed of bituminous and anthracite (hard coal). Brown coal is Germany’s most important domestic energy source. According to Statistik der Kohlenwirtschaft, a German coal industry association, brown coal production represents over 40 percent of Germany’s total domestic energy production.
Germany’s domestic natural gas transmission network facilitates the movement of natural gas from import terminals to its interior consumption centers. Wingas operates the 440-mile Mitte-Deutschland-Anbindungs-Leitung (MIDAL) system, which runs the length of the entire country and connects the North Sea coast with Kahrlsruhe.
In 2003, Germany produced 780 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas. The country is the third largest producer in the EU, behind the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Production has risen slightly since 1991, but the lack of new discoveries in the country could hinder future production growth
According to Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ), Germany has 9.9 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven natural gas reserves, the third largest in the EU, after the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Almost all of Germany's natural gas reserves and production occur in the northwestern state of Niedersachsen, between the Wesser and Elbe rivers.
Germany has several large pipeline systems that deliver crude oil from import terminals along its northern coastline to inland refineries. The 440-mile Minveraloelverbungleitung (MVL) connects the cities of Rostock, Schwedt, and Spergau in eastern Germany.
According to Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ), Germany had 390 million barrels of proven oil reserves in 2005. Most of these reserves are located in northern and northeastern Germany. The country produced 162,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil in 2004, of which 68,000 bbl/d (42 percent) was crude oil.
Germany has one of the largest economies in the world, with a 2004 nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.7 trillion. However, in recent years, a combination of high unemployment and sluggish domestic demand has dampened German economic growth. The country posted real GDP growth of 1.6 percent in 2004, after GDP contracted by 0.7 percent in 2003.