UK Energy Consumption Decline – Despite a Growing GDP

by | Dec 7, 2018

UK energy consumption decline stats: After accounting for temperature variation, the UK’s total energy consumption has dropped by 10% since 2002. This trend can be noted across various sectors, from industrial to commercial and residential. (The only sector that hasn’t seen a decrease in energy consumption is transport.)

Indeed, a number of countries saw a dip in energy consumption during the Recession, but the UK’s drop started before and has continued thereafter. In comparison, the energy consumption of other EU countries as well as the USA has remained steady.

Overall energy consumption in the UK has continued to decrease despite a rise in gross domestic product (GDP). Typically, a rise in GDP would equate to a rise in energy consumption, but, in the UK, this hasn’t been the case.

“You would normally, or traditionally, expect GDP rise to be accompanied by an energy consumption rise,” he says. “That’s what you tend to see on a global level. … As people become richer, they tend to buy more stuff, use more stuff and consume more energy.”

UK energy stats

A new report from Carbon Brief shows that even though the UK population increased from 60 million to 66 million people from 2005-2018, total output dropped to 335TWh. This is around 63TWh lower than in 2005.
Read more about the UK’s energy consumption decline here.

Why UK’s energy consumption decline?

Reducing energy use while maintaining economic growth is a model worth replicating, but how the did the UK achieve this?

Analysts haven’t quite been able to pinpoint why this is happening. The UK’s electricity consumption dropped last year (continuing a decade-long trend), yet no other EU country saw a decline, but:

  • The population isn’t in decline
  • The economy isn’t shrinking
  • Countries with similar weather patterns haven’t experienced the same patterns

Contributing factors may include:

  • A move away from energy-intensive heavy industries like steel manufacturing.
  • The use of more energy efficient appliances and LED lightbulbs (although this is not unique to the UK, with many EU countries doing the same).
  • The new standards for gas boilers, one of the most successful climate policies in recent years.
  • Awareness among consumers, who have changed to more energy efficient behaviour.
  • An increase in the generation of renewable energy.

What’s in store for the next few years?

Can this drop in energy consumption be sustained over time?

  • Government policies that offer financial incentives for energy efficient practices could inspire more companies to save energy.
  • In the domestic sector, British homes are also using less and less energy. This growing awareness may continue.

Reducing energy consumption in your business both saves money and reduces your carbon footprint. Need help with better energy management? Contact the energy experts at Smarter Business to achieve better energy efficiency.

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