As part of our 3-year research project eXtremOS (XOS) we analyzed the status quo and potential of electrification in the 16 XOS core countries and summarized the results in so-called electrification profiles (cf. Figure 1). Our 16 core countries are:
|Last update: 27.04.2020|
Using Germany as an example, the following text highlights each element of the profiles. It thereby provides input on a selection of aspects, which are addressed by each component and their relevance for the topic of electrification.
Figure 1: Front page of Germany's electrification profile
Documenting the status quo
The upper half of each profile contains fields which show the current state of electrification in each country. It informs about the following aspects:
- Current electricity consumption
- Emission factor of electricity compared to other fossil fuels
- Average electricity price by customer group compared to other fossil fuels
- Selection of key facts about the respective energy system
- Current electrification incentives and policies
Figure 2: Share of electricity demand of total energy demand (left) and sectoral electricity demand in heating and cooling and other applications (right) 2017 in Germany , ,
Figure 2 shows the share of Germany’s electricity consumption compared to total energy demand (22 %) and the sectoral share of electricity by heating and cooling (H&C) and other applications. Amongst the 16 analyzed countries, the share of electricity consumption ranges between 17 % (Poland; 136 TWh) and 53 % (Norway; 114 TWh). Fossil-based energy systems such as Germany (22 %), Poland (17 %) or the Netherlands (20 %) tend to exhibit lower shares of electricity in final energy demand, compared to countries with hydro, biomass and/or nuclear-based systems such as Norway (53 %), Sweden (34 %) and France (27 %). In all three cases, lower costs for electrical appliances compared to fossil alternatives triggered above average electrification rates. Hereby, the configuration of these energy systems is the cause for developments (e.g. low electricity prices due to low production costs or investment subsidies for electrical end-use technologies), which foster the use of electrical end-use appliances. Today, most of the analyzed countries provide hard and/or soft incentives for heat pumps and electric vehicles.
The right-hand-side of Figure 2 shows which share of sectoral electricity demand is consumed by H&C and other applications (e.g. mechanical energy, lighting). In the 16 analyzed countries, the minimum and maximum share of H&C applications ranges between
- 8 % in Norway to 36 % in Switzerland in Industry,
- 26 % in Poland to 56 % in Norway in Services,
- 31 % in Norway to 91 % in Switzerland in Households and
- a 5 % share across all countries is assumed for the transport sector.
Electricity consumption for H&C applications is significantly lower compared to other applications in all sectors, except households. This is the case for all analyzed countries and is a result of the mainly fossil based heat provision in the service and industry sector and the relatively low significance of H&C in vehicles. In these sectors, the electrification of heat and mechanical energy is likely to lead to the reversion of this ratio in the long-term. In households, however, cooking and climate cooling dominate electrical energy consumption and significantly outweigh other electrical applications. The electrification of heating and hot water as well as the rising demand for cooling applications is likely to result in an increase of household electricity demand for H&C.
Figure 3 shows the emission factor of electricity production and sectoral electricity price compared to fossil alternatives.
Figure 3: Electricity and fossil fuel emission factors in gCO2 / kWh (left) and end-consumer electricity prices in ct / kWh for industry (500 MWh – 2 GWh) and households including taxes, levies and surcharges (right) in 2017 
Both graphs can serve as an indicator for the costs and decarbonization effect of electrification measures. Based on the 2017 values, in Germany both the electricity price and emission factor show unfavorable conditions for electrification. However, case specific analyses are required in order to evaluate the decarbonization costs and potential of electrical technologies. In many cases, efficiency gains of electrical technologies (e.g. heat pumps and electric vehicles) compared to fossil reference technologies can change the picture.
Electrification - a glimpse into the future
The lower half of the electrification profiles includes three diagrams concerning the future of electrification.
Figure 4 compares the feasible potential of variable renewable energy sources (vRES), net electricity generation 2017 and electrical final energy consumption after the electrification of all “low hanging fruits”. The figure serves to indicate if the post-electrification energy demand could be covered by domestic vRES. Furthermore, comparing the resulting electrical final energy consumption to the domestic net electricity generation, can serve as an indicator for the challenge on the supply-side. Details about the definition of the term feasible vRES potential and low-hanging fruits electrification can be found in the methodology slides of the FfE countryprofiles.
Figure 4: Potential of variable renewable energy sources, net electricity generation 2017 and electrical final energy consumption after the electrification of “Low hanging fruits” in TWh
Figure 5 depicts scenario results for the absolute level and change of electricity and energy demand in the respective country. For the case of Germany, numerous energy system decarbonization studies exist, which show an increase in the share of electricity of total final energy consumption as well as an absolute increase.
Figure 5: Scenario results for electricity demand in Germany in 2030 and 2050 in TWh 
The list of energy system scenarios in Germany is long, compared to most of the 16 analyzed countries. In many cases, energy scenarios cover only the electricity supply-side or have other objectives than deriving a decarbonization pathway. However, in most countries an expansion of absolute and relative electricity demand is expected. Reasons for these expansions are multifold and include decarbonization, economic growth or improvements in energy efficiency for fossil applications (e.g. industrial process heat). Scenario abbreviations and a list of all sources can be found on page 2 of each electrification profile (cf. Figure 6).
Figure 6: Back page of Germany's electrification profile
- eXtremOS - Ländersteckbriefe für 17 europäische Länder erstellt
- Electrification decarbonization efficiency in Europe – a case study for the industry sector
- Joint article FfE and TUM on: Meta-analysis of country-specific energy scenario studies for neighbouring countries of Germany
- Potentials of Variable Renewable Energy Sources and "Low-Hanging Fruits" Electrification in Europe
- System effects of high demand‐side electrification rates: A scenario analysis for Germany in 2030
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