Raw Materials / Energy

Dieses Kristallaggregat enthält u.a. Indium, Germanium und Silber – mineralische und metallhaltige Rohstoffe, deren effizientere Nutzung im HZDR im Mittelpunkt steht. (Quelle: HZDR/Jürgen Jeibmann)

Source: Helmholtz Center Dresden-Rossendorf e. V. (HZDR) / Jürgen Jeibmann


Saxony is mining country – with a tradition that dates back all the way to 1168 when the first silver deposits were discovered near Freiberg. And Saxony is a resource-rich country even today. Solid rocks, sands, and gravels, the most diverse ceramic raw materials as well as lignite are found in comparably large quantities and are extracted in about 340 deposits. Compared to the rest of Germany, ore and spar reserves are also available in relatively large quantities in Saxony.

In this context, it is also necessary to mention that the existence of numerous so called supply-critical raw materials has been scientifically verified in Saxony’s deposits. These resources include indium, rare earths, tungsten, tin, fluorspar, lithium, and molybdenum.

Thus, Saxony possesses a significant potential of raw materials which are used, for example, in the ore and steel, glass and ceramics, or electronics and chemical industries.

With its shares in the Lusatian and Central German lignite mining districts, the Federal State of Saxony is one of the most important lignite mining states in Germany. The annual production of approximately 30 million tons of raw lignite equals a proportion of about 20 percent of Germany’s total production. With around 3.5 percent of the globally extracted raw lignite, this output is also very significant at an international scale.


The largest portion of Saxony’s energy demand (primary energy consumption) is covered by lignite (43 %). This is followed by mineral oils (30 %), natural gas (19 %), and renewable energy (7 %). When it comes to renewable energy, biomass / biogas is the most relevant source with a share of more than 70 %, followed by wind energy and solar energy / PV with approximately 10 % each.

In Saxony, lignite is used primarily for power generation for industry and the transportation sectors. Natural gas and electricity are the most commonly used energy carriers for both the manufacturing trade and the service sector in Saxony. In contrast to private households, renewable energy has not played a significant role in the corporate sector so far.

In relation to the gross domestic product (GDP), primary energy consumption (PEC) in Saxony exhibited a downward trend in the latest available period under review. In 2012, 6.3 GJ (Germany: 5.6 GJ) of primary energy were used for every 1,000 euros of the real gross domestic product in Saxony. In the years under review, the macroeconomic energy efficiency (PEC per GDP) in Saxony and in Germany increased by an average of 1.9 percent per year (average annual change rate).

The reviewed gross electricity consumption in relation to the gross domestic product (GDP) exhibited a downward trend both in Saxony and Germany. In 2012, 202 kWh (Germany: 245 kWh) of electricity were used for every 1,000 euros of the real gross domestic product in Saxony. Compared to Germany, the gross domestic product generated with one unit of gross electricity is 19 percent higher in Saxony.


The rational and frugal use of energy has become a key factor for the competitiveness of entire industrial branches and human society. Saxony’s companies actively participate in various fields with the objective of using energy reserves more sustainably in the future.


The increasing contribution of renewable energy to the total energy mix entails great challenges for a continuous and economically profitable energy supply. Saxony’s companies – some are global leaders in their field – also participate in the development and commercialization of state of the art energy storage technologies. A number of very competent companies are found primarily in the sectors batteries, capacitors, fuel cells, and thermal storage systems.


Saxony’s long tradition as a mining region has imparted regional companies and research institutes superb expert knowledge in the rehabilitation of post-mining damages, in the disposal of hazardous waste, and in the recycling of raw materials. 

Logo Sächsische Energieagentur – SAENA GmbH

Saxon Energy Agency – SAENA GmbH

So that bright ideas reach the people – this could be the quickest way to answer the question: What is the purpose of the Saxon Energy Agency – SAENA GmbH Saxony pursues a sustainable and innovative energy policy which is implemented with the support and assistance of SAENA, an enterprise wholly owned by the Free State. The Saxon Energy Agency advises Saxony’s companies, municipalities, and citizens on renewable energies as well as the sustainable supply and rational, efficient use of energy. With pilot projects, special events, continued education programs, information material, campaigns, special promotional days, and expert symposiums, SAENA puts alternative energies and energy efficiency on the public agenda in Saxony


The Energy Directive/2014 of the Saxony State Ministry for Economic Affairs, Labour, and Transport (SMWA) has been in effect since May 28, 2015. Within the scope of this directive, the Federal State grants subsidies for increasing energy efficiency, using renewable energy, storing energy, building intelligent energy networks, and researching application-oriented energy technologies. The directive is primarily geared towards small and medium sized enterprises as well as enterprises with public participation. The funding focuses on the reduction of CO2 emissions in companies as well as the promotion of application-oriented research projects revolving around energy technologies.

Sächsische Aufbaubank - Förderbank (SAB), New Energy Directive (German)

"EIT RawMaterials" - Europe’s largest resource network

The Helmholtz Center Dresden-Rossendorf e. V. (HZDR) coordinates together with the Fraunhofer Society the establishment of Europe’s largest resource network on behalf of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT). Until 2022, a total of 410 million euros will be available for "EIT RawMaterials" with the objective of developing new procedures and products for the sustainable exploration, extraction, processing, and recycling of raw materials. The network will unite 116 universities, research centers, and companies from 22 countries. An important partner is also the Freiberg University of Mining and Technology. The “EIT RawMaterials – Regional Center Freiberg” has been established here since September 2015. 

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