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Electricity consumption

Electricity consumption means the use of electrical energy.

The electricity consumption given on the SMARD website shows the actual use of electrical energy taken from the grid for each region. This is also known as "grid load" or "network usage".

The electricity consumption shown only includes figures from consumers currently taking electricity from the grid. It does not include the use of electrical energy from batteries, including rechargeable ones. Making calls on a mobile phone or using a cordless screwdriver uses electrical energy but this energy is not taken from the grid, so such consumption does not show up in the SMARD data. However, it can be seen when the mobile phone is plugged in to charge or the rechargeable battery pack is put on its charger.

As electricity cannot be stored on a large scale, renewable energy installations adjust to current demand. Electricity is also produced in Germany and exported abroad as well as being produced abroad and imported to Germany. This can be seen in the electricity consumption value as well. Generally speaking, the amount of electricity generated corresponds to that which is consumed. The input of all renewable energy installations, conventional power plants and electricity imports make up the generation, from which electricity exports and the capacity of energy storage facilities such as pumped storage units are deducted. The result is the electricity consumption shown.   

Apart from the actual consumption, predicted consumption is also shown in the Market data visuals section. Transmission system operators submit the predicted value the day before on the basis of the results of day-ahead trading and other empirical data. Nevertheless, the data may be updated subsequently if there are significant changes, ie of more than 10%.

Both the forecast and actual electricity consumption can be seen on the SMARD website. The closer together the two lines are, the better the consumption forecasts. This is important for the power plant deployment plan to be produced in advance as accurately as possible.

Today, renewables make a significant contribution to meeting demand for electricity in Germany. The remaining demand for mostly conventional energy sources can be illustrated by the so-called residual load. It lists numerically the portion of the total electricity consumption that is not met by the fluctuating feed-in of renewable energy.

The residual load is calculated on SMARD as the electricity consumption minus the output from photovoltaic installations and wind power stations. Throughout the course of a day there are fluctuations in the residual load, depending on the level of feed-in from renewables. If the residual load is zero or negative, then renewable output from wind and the sun was able to fully meet the demand for electricity.

The residual load is defined as the electricity consumption minus the feed-in from photovoltaic installations and wind power stations (onshore and offshore).