How to get an overview of the structure of the energy industry

Studies by the BMWi on the energy transition and the effects on investment, growth and employment

The conversion of the energy supply is associated with considerable investments. At the same time, these investments provide impetus for growth and employment in Germany. These effects on the German economy were comprehensively analyzed empirically in various projects commissioned by the BMWi. The results of the projects offer important guidance for an economic policy assessment of the energy transition.

The previous individual reports from the projects have examined various topics:

Overview of macroeconomic effects and distributional effects

Measures for the energy transition lead to a series of changes in the distribution of goods and services and influence the burdens and reliefs of the actors involved. The study "Systematisation of the macroeconomic effects and distribution effects of the energy transition" systematically presents distribution effects and terminology and offers a comprehensive qualitative overview of the overarching interrelationships.

Economic indicators and total energy accounts

From the point of view of the energy industry, the development of essential economic indicators such as investments, gross production, imports and exports as well as employment is structurally different. In addition, the investment demand of the energy industry sets impulses in other economic sectors. The study "Economic indicators of the energy system", looking back for the years 2000-2016, proposes a systematic classification and compiles the available, comprehensive data in a clear manner. The follow-up study "Economic indicators of energy supply" also takes into account the year 2017 on the energy supply side.

With the expansion of renewable energies and the increase in energy efficiency, the demand for imports of fossil fuels such as mineral oil, natural gas and hard coal in Germany is decreasing. The overall effect of these savings can be estimated empirically. The study “To calculate the reduced imports of fossil fuels due to the expansion of renewable energies and energy efficiency” does this for the years 2000 to 2015 and offers a methodology with which the import saving effects through renewable energies and efficiency are determined across the board and uniformly can be. Based on this methodology, the follow-up study "Import savings of fossil fuels and fuels through energy efficiency gains and the expansion of renewable energies" determines the figures up to and including 2018.

Systems for renewable electricity and heat generation and for increasing energy efficiency are often technologically sophisticated solutions. Their production requires high-quality manufacturing processes in which companies in Germany offer internationally competitive products. At the same time, technology goods for the implementation of the energy transition are being imported to Germany on a larger scale. Both trends have an impact on Germany's macroeconomic trade balance. In the study "Analysis of German exports and imports of technology goods for the use of renewable energies and other energy technology goods", these effects of the energy transition are comprehensively examined on the basis of trade statistics.

The total expenditure for energy consumption can be an indication of the affordability of energy. However, there is currently no recognized indicator that reliably measures affordability as a dimension of the energy policy target triangle. The expert commission for the monitoring of the energy transition has therefore proposed a concept for the overall energy accounting. The report “Energy Industry Total Accounting - Methods and Exemplary Calculations” takes a closer look at the approach of the expert commission.

Macroeconomic effects of the energy transition

A proper economic and political assessment of the energy transition requires a net analysis of the various effects it has triggered: The current development with the energy transition goals should be compared with an intellectual development in which there would have been no energy transition. This comparison can be made with the help of quantitative analyzes. Such an analysis is presented in the study "Macroeconomic Effects of the Energy Turnaround" in a well-founded and comprehensive manner.

A changing macroeconomic environment can become more important for the implementation of energy transition investments. Growth opportunities as well as possible bottlenecks, for example in labor and skilled workers or raw materials, can become relevant for the production of goods for the energy transition. The literature study "Possible bottlenecks for the energy transition" considers the macroeconomic and socio-economic relationships that must be observed in order to avoid obstacles in the implementation of the energy transition.

In addition to the quantitative growth and employment effects of the net analysis, additional effects can arise that are, however, more difficult to quantify. This is where the literature study "Advantages of the energy transition beyond the macroeconomic effects" comes in. Such advantages are identified, among other things, with falling technology costs and new business areas. In addition, the contributions of the energy transition to energy security, air pollution control and climate protection are considered.

Distribution Effects in Energy Policy

Energy policy measures as well as general market developments can contribute to effects for the actors involved, which can be reflected in different sectoral, regional, socio-economic and temporal characteristics. Selected distribution effects of the German energy supply are examined in more detail:

Private households spend part of their income on obtaining energy in the form of electricity, heating and mobility. The study “Distribution Effects of Energy Policy - Personal Income Distribution” uses a statistical analysis to examine how different these expenditures turn out to be when households have different incomes or differ in other characteristics.

The positive macroeconomic effects identified at the federal level occur to different extents in the individual federal states. Developments in the power generation mix as well as the general industry-specific economic structure play a role here. These relationships are examined more closely in the study “Macroeconomic Effects of the Energy Transition in the Federal States”.

The expansion of renewable energies leads to employment which, due to the different developments in the various energy sources, is also distributed differently from region to region. Against this background, the study "Renewable Employment in the Federal States" not only determines the total number of employees in the renewable energy sectors at the state level, but also breaks down according to energy sources (such as wind energy, bioenergy, solar energy) and their total number in relation to total employment .

The individual studies were developed in the completed project "Macroeconomic Effects and Distribution Issues of the Energy Turnaround" as well as in the ongoing project "Analysis of German exports and imports of technology goods for the use of renewable energies and other energy technology goods" and "Economic indicators of the energy system".

Further studies

In addition to the projects presented, the macroeconomic effects of the energy transition and, in particular, employment effects have already been examined in other, previous projects, sometimes from different perspectives or in different approaches. In these projects, for example, the experts investigated the question of how many people are employed in the energy industry and to what extent the energy transition creates additional jobs or, on balance, costs jobs. As a result, these previous projects, as well as the current projects, agree that the energy transition is associated with positive effects on employment.

  • The study "Employment through renewable energies in Germany: expansion and operation, today and tomorrow" focuses on the analysis of renewable energies and their influence on gross employment in 2012 and 2013. It takes into account several steps in advance, which means it will be counts the employees of direct and indirect suppliers. The study also looks into the question of whether the energy transition will lead to additional employment, i.e. whether the expansion of renewable energies will create more jobs than will be lost in conventional electricity generation, for example. For this, the assumption is made that the energy turnaround will begin in 1995 (start of the expansion of renewable energies due to state subsidies).
    The gross employment from renewable energies in the following years was updated and continued within the framework of the above-mentioned project “Macroeconomic Effects and Distribution Issues of the Energy Transition”. An updated time series up to 2018 is shown here.
  • The study "Value creation and employment effects in the energy industry" takes a different approach and tries to determine gross energy-related employment based on data from official statistics. In addition to gross employment, figures are determined for the sub-areas of renewable energies and conventional energies. In comparison to the first study, only the first intermediate stage is taken into account, i.e. only employees in direct suppliers are recorded, which means that the number of employees tends to be lower than in the gross employment approach.