Where Does the UK Energy Supply Come From?

by | May 23, 2018

What’s on this page?

  1. Where does the UK get its energy from?
  2. Facts and figures on the UK energy supply
  3. What influences UK energy supply and demand?
  4. UK Energy Supply: 80% reduction in emissions by 2050
  5. The UK’s Energy Timeline

 We’re interested in tracking the growth of renewable energy, and the patterns that emerge as the world looks to change consumption habits in search of a greener future. Incredibly, it was only 9 years ago that renewable energy made up 4% of the UK’s total energy supply. Today, that figure stands at over 37%. Noticeably, reliance on coal energy has dropped from 30% to just above 2%.  

So how do the figures compare over the last 9 years, and how can the UK reach its goal of an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050? 

Where does the UK get its energy from?

  • Gas
  • Coal
  • Nuclear power
  • Renewables (wind, solar etc.)

Where did the UK get its energy from in 2019?

  • Gas: 40.6% 
  • Renewables: 37.1% 
  • Nuclear: 17.3% 
  • Coal: 2.1% 
  • Oil and others: 2.8% 

How does this compare to 2018?

  • Gas: 39.4%
  • Renewables: 33.3%
  • Nuclear: 19.5%
  • Coal: 5%
  • Oil and others: 2.8%

General UK energy supply in 2019. 2018 and 2017, compared to 2011

 

2011 

2017 

2018 

2019 

Gas 

40% 

39% 

39% 

41% 

Coal 

30% 

6% 

5% 

2% 

Nuclear 

19% 

19% 

19% 

17% 

Renewables 

4% 

29% 

33% 

37% 

 

 

 

 

 

Facts and figures on the UK energy supply

The UK energy supply benefits from highly diverse and flexible sources of electricity, with the energy mix constantly changing. Although the region is transitioning to a low carbon system, coal remains an important source of energy.

What influences UK energy supply and demand?

  • Energy efficiency
  • Weather
  • Economic activity
  • Consumer activity

Why do average electricity generation sources vary from day to day and year to year?

  • The cost of gas and coal
  • Environmental policies
  • Availability of renewable energy
  • Energy prices of other interconnected countries

 

UK Energy Supply: 80% reduction in emissions by 2050

The UK has made it clear that it wants to reduce its dependence on oil and gas. The goal is to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050.

How are we doing?

Half of the energy generated from ‘homegrown’ fuels (including fossil fuels like coal and gas) now comes from renewable sources.

This is up from less than a third in 2013.

In 2018, wind and solar power overtook power produced by nuclear power plants.

48% of UK energy in 2019 has come from zero-carbon sources

 Between January and May 2019, 48% of Britain’s electricity generation 9 was from zero-carbon sources.

  • imports: 6%
  • nuclear energy: 18%
  • renewable energy: 24%
  • coal: 3%
  • gas: 41%

55 hours of coal-free electricity

55 – The length of time the UK was powered without using coal in April 2018. This is the longest time the nation has been powered for so long without using coal since the world’s first coal-fired power station for public use was opened in London in 1882.

The amount of electricity generated using zero or low-carbon energy is over 60% . This is comprised of:

Low Carbon Source% of total
Nuclear 20.1%20.1
Wind 33.7%33.7
Solar 3.3%3.3
Biomass 5%5
Hydro 0.9%0.9

 

The UK’s Energy Timeline

Late 1990s:

  • Nuclear power plants contributed around 25% of total annual electricity generation in the UK.

2006:

  • World’s ninth-largest consumer of energy.

2009:

  • 13th-largest producer of natural gas in the world.
  • Largest producer of natural gas in the EU.

2010:

  • UK had around 3.1 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves (the largest of any EU member state).

2013:

  • UK produced 914 thousand barrels per day (bbl/d) of oil and consumed 1,507 thousand bbl/d.
  • Renewable electricity sources provided 14.9% of electricity,

2014:

  • Wind power generated 9.3% of the UK’s total electricity.

2018:

  • Wind power generates 14 gigawatts of electricity for the first time – nearly 37% of the country’s needs.
  • The UK goes more than two days without using any coal-fired power for the first time in more than a century.

Sources

  • BEIS Energy Trends
  • Ofgem
  • Independent
  • Wikipedia
  • Smarter Business

 

 

 

2024 Energy Market Volatility Strategy | Smarter Business

2024’s Forecasted Energy Price Increases and the Best Way To Save  Energy Market Volatility: Take The Power Back   Wholesale energy market volatility has seen an increase in prices, with projections showing fluctuations for the remainder of the year. With anticipated...

MOP DC/DA For Business Electricity | Smarter Business

Energy Spotlight: MOP DC/DA Contracts  What Are MOPs and DC/DA and Why Are They Important?  Effective metering and timely energy data hold extensive potential benefits for businesses. These include billing accuracy, effective energy efficiency strategies, and costs...

2024 Commercial Energy Price Forecast | Smarter Business UK

2024 Commercial Energy Price Predictions  For business owners, the question on everyone’s minds is, “Will energy prices fall in 2024?” At first glance, we appear to have started strong in 2024 – with a 12% reduction in the short-term energy price forecast according to...

2024 Business Energy, Gas, Water, Facilities Maintenance

Business Energy Tips for a Strong Start In 2024    Insights To Ensure Business Utilities Are New Year Ready  As we take our first steps into the new year, it is the perfect time to get everything in line to start 2024 on the right foot. Take the time to relook at...

2023 Winter Business Energy Savings

Quick Tips for Winter Energy Worries  How To Prevent Winter Energy Woes    As winter approaches, the cost of winter energy – at home and at work – is on everyone’s minds. It’s a good time to scrutinise energy consumption with savings in mind.  The domestic energy...