BAS-MEETING-Business Energy

Energy Consumption- UK Energy Statistics 2017

UK energy statistics 2017 for energy consumption in the UK have been published. Last week, the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy released four key publications under the Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics 2018:

These documents provide detailed analysis of the UK’s energy production, transformation and consumption in 2017.

The key points of the UK energy statistics 2017 reports are as follows:

  • Primary energy production rose by 0.4% between 2016 and 2017. This increase was driven by a growth in energy input from solar, wind, hydro, waste and bioenergy.
  • Coal output was at a record low.
  • Final energy consumption in the UK in 2017 (excluding non-energy use) fell by 0.7% due to a decreased demand for heating. When adjusted for temperature, however, energy consumption rose by 0.9%.
  • Electricity from the UK’s renewable energy sources reached a record 29.3% of the UK’s total electricity generation. This is 4.8% higher than the previous year. This is a result of:
    • 13.6% rise in renewable generation capacity to 40.6 GW
    • Higher average wind speeds.
  • The share of low carbon electricity generation increased from 45.6% to 50.1% – a new record driven  by the increase in renewables generation
  • BEIS estimate that overall emissions fell by 12 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (MtCO2) (3.2 per cent) to 366.9 MtCO2 between 2016 and 2017, driven by the changes in electricity generation.

Coal reached an all-time low

Coal output fell to a record low level, down by 27% in 2017 to a low of 3 million tonnes – a third of its 2015 levels. In 2015 coal’s share of the UK’s energy generation was 22%, declining to 9% in 2016, and then to 7% in 2017.

This was largely because one of the biggest surface mines is under maintenance and has not produced coal since April 2017. In addition, the higher carbon price for coal meant that gas production was favoured over coal production as coal generation became more expensive than gas.

The consumption of coal in the UK decreased by 20% in 2017, with a 28% decrease in coal consumption by the major power producers who use 61% of the total coal demand. In 2017, coal accounted for 6.7% of the electricity generated in the UK, down from 9% in 2016. In 2017, domestic users accounted for just 3.8% of total coal consumption.

Imported energy figures 

Imported energy rose by 1.2% in 2017, but this is down from a record level of 16% in 2013. Crude oil from Norway accounts for 47% of imports. The key source for imported gas is also Norway.

All in all, the UK remained a net energy importer of all main fuel types (36%) in 2017, down marginally from 2016.

The UK’s main energy consumption statistics in 2017

UK primary energy consumption continued on its downward trends from the last ten years, falling by 1.2% in 2017, down 0.3% on a temperature-adjusted basis. This decline was due to the UK’s switch in energy generation from coal to renewable energy sources.

Energy consumption in the UK in 2017 by sector

  • Industrial sector – 1.6% increase in energy consumption
  • Chemicals sub-sector – 7% increase in energy consumption
  • Construction – 5.9% increase in energy consumption
  • Food, drink, and tobacco – 3.5% increase in energy consumption
  • Vehicles sub-sector – 2.9% increase in energy consumption
  • Transport sector – 0.9% increase in energy consumption
  • Agricultural sector – 3.4% increase in energy consumption
  • Private commercial sector – 1% decrease in energy consumption
  • Public sector – 1.7% decrease in energy consumption

Domestic energy consumption in the UK in 2017

Domestic energy consumption decreased by 3.7%, reflecting warmer average temperatures particularly during the heating season. Temperature-corrected, however, domestic energy consumption saw a 0.3% increase.

Since 2000, energy consumption has fallen by 14%. This has occurred even though the number of households has increased by 15% and the population has increased by 12%. This means that, per household, energy consumption in the UK in 2017 has fallen by 26%.

Main electricity generation and supply statistics

Demand for electricity fell in 2017, leading to a 1% decrease in the total supply of electricity in the UK in 2017. The final consumption of electricity in the UK fell to 300.7 TWh, representing the lowest level since 1995.

  • Largest electricity consumer: the domestic sector (105.4 TWh) – although this is 2.4% lower than 2016
  • Industrial sector (92.6 TWh) – an increase of 0.9%
  • Service sector consumed (97.8 TW) – 1.5% lower than 2016.

The rise of renewable energy in UK energy statistics 2017

Notably, 2017 marked a record high of renewable energy generation, which further displaced fossil fuel generation. Renewable energy generation rose by 19% in 2017 to a record 99.3 TWh. It now comprises 29.3% of the UK’s total energy production in 2017 (up 4.8% from 2016)

This was due to:

  • A 14% increase in renewable capacity
    • Energy generation from solar sources rose by 11%
    • Energy generation from hydro sources rose by 10%
    • Onshore wind capacity increased by 18%
    • Together, onshore and offshore wind represent almost half (48%) of the UK’s renewable electrical capacity.
  • Higher average wind speeds than 2016
    • Generation from onshore wind increased by 39%
    • Generation from offshore wind increased 27%

Energy consumption in the UK and UK energy statistics 2017– summary

Although final energy consumption decreased in 2017, the temperature-adjusted statistics show a rise of 0.9%. A number of records were set in 2017, with coal output at a record low, and electricity from the UK’s renewable energy sources reaching a record 29.3% of total electricity generation. The share of low carbon electricity generation increased from 45.6% to 50.1%, another new record driven by the increase in renewables generation.