Résumé : The energetic use of residues from agriculture can foster the transition towards a more renewable energy supply. However, sustainability issues have to be considered along the entire provision chain as they affect the resource and energy potential as well as the achievable contribution to climate mitigation. Straw is one of the most important agricultural residues in Germany. It is not yet used for energy purposes extensively and compared to other agricultural feedstock it shows low competition with food, feed or fiber.This paper analyses on the one hand the sustainable potential of cereal straw for energy application in Germany considering the actual agricultural conditions, and on the other hand the global warming potential from different energy provision chains based on straw. Different humus-balance tools that are able to assess the organic matter (OM) demand to presume soil fertility. The analysis of straw potentials was applied at NUTS 3 level for Germany, based on statistical data. The results of this analysis were used as input data for the modeling of concepts for straw provision and use. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were calculated for each concept in order to compare the global warming potential of various energy applications, to investigate the relative contribution of different production steps and to compare them with fossil energy applications.In total, 29.8Tg of straw (fresh matter) are produced annually in Germany (1999-2007). Approximately 4.8Tg of the total straw occurrence are annually required by animal husbandry. Between 7.97 and 13.25Tg straw can be classified as sustainable straw. Highest straw potential (3.99Mgha-1) can be found in parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony. But there are also regions that show a net deficit.The cumulated GHG emissions for the resulting concepts are between 8 and 35gCO2-eq.MJ-1. In comparison to fossil energy applications, the highest reduction potential occurs for concepts for combined heat and power (CHP) provision, i.e. 223gCO2-eq.MJel-1. This study highlights the possible contribution of straw as renewable energy carrier, but also demonstrates that there are regional restrictions for straw use. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.