UK Energy statistics – what they show

The official UK figures for the first three months of energy consumption and prices for 2008 have now been released. We seem to be moving in the right direction, as far as climate change is concerned, but this is due to market forces as opposed to Government policy.

Total energy consumption was down by less than one percent to 228.2 million tonnes of oil equivalent, but of this we produced in these islands only around 20% of our total energy consumption. Oil consumption and coal consumption were both down as was primary electricity consumption – in the case of coal by 6.3% and gas consumption was 3.4% higher so carbon dioxide emissions should be marginally lower that they were in the first quarter of 2007.

Coal imports, production and coal used in power stations are all down by around 8% compared with the same period in 2007. Closing Tower Colliery in Glamorgan, the oldest deep mined colliery which has been worked since 1805, led to a decrease by 11.8% of deep mined coal, with open cast coal production barely changing.

Oil use was down 5% with petrol use decreasing and diesel use increasing by the same amount. The hike in oil prices is beginning to affect motoring behaviour. Aircraft fuel use showed a rise of nearly 2%. UK oil production was down by 5.6% and only the coming into production of nine new small oil fields preventing that figure from doubling. The UK was a net importer of oil, and I think this new trend will continue with oil imports having to be increased year by year in the future as the oil of the North Sea fields runs out.

Most people use natural gas to heat their homes and water. Here the figures are showing the start of a very significant new trend. UK gas production was down by 3.5% but gas imports were up by 14.3%. Gas used in the domestic sector increased by 7.2% and the amount of gas used in power stations was up by 10.7%. This shows that the natural gas reserves are depleting and we are becoming more dependent year on year on imported gas. That means more international pipe line gas will be needed and more liquefied gas shipped by sea and stored here will also be needed.

Electricity generation may be coming more efficient as the figures show that generators supplied 2% more electricity which catered for an increased demand of a slightly higher figure. The efficiency of electricity generation is probably due to more gas and less coal being used to supply power. Domestically we are all using more electricity, notwithstanding the increased use of low energy light bulbs.

Electricity produced by nuclear power was down by 7% as some nuclear generating plants closed for servicing and repairs.

As everyone knows, fuel prices have increased, coal by 11%, oil by 43%, and gas by 15%. Oil now costs nearly three times more than it cost in 1990, after adjusting for inflation, as everyone who drives a car or who depends on heating oil knows. By the middle of June petrol had increased by 22% to 118p per litre and diesel by 35% to an average of 131p a litre. Heating oil increased by 41%

Renewables barely make an impact on the heat and power that we use. We have an energy economy based almost entirely on fossil fuel, with a small amount of nuclear electricity generation. Almost all of our greenhouse gas emissions comes from burning fossil fuel and this is unsustainable in economic terms as well as in environmental terms.

Talking about reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 60%, as the Climate Change Bill envisages or 80% as some Members of Parliament prefer, or talking about a shared climate change “vision” by the leaders at the G8 summit actually disguises the immensity of the task that we face to reduce emissions.

Targets should be couched in terms of renewable energy measures, not in theoretical emission savings. Mr Wick’s recent statement about the need to put solar heating panels on seven million homes and the need to build thousands of large scale wind farms points the way to the kind of targets that we need to adopt and then create the means for fulfilling them. All the climate change visions in the world will not, by themselves stop irreversible climate change

At the end of July the government will be publishing further figures including those that cover renewable energy generation. If you want to see the complete statistics you can find them by clicking on the following link. http://www.berr.gov.uk/energy/statistics/publications/trends/index.html

One Response

  1. mooodxlvpthytkctwell, hi admin adn people nice forum indeed. how’s life? hope it’s introduce branch 😉

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