UK

For the first time on record non-fossil energy sources accounted for the majority of UK power generation in 2017, further displacing coal and lowering CO2 emissions

Fast facts

  1. Primary energy consumption in the UK declined by just 0.1% in 2017, having declined on average by 1.8% p.a. over the previous decade
  2. Oil consumption increased marginally as growing demand for diesel and jet fuel outweighed declines in gasoline and fuel oil
  3. Power generation from coal-fired plants continued to decline, driven by plant closures and the strong carbon price. Coal’s overall share of the generation mix fell to just 6.7%

75% Combined share of oil and gas in primary energy consumption

+33% Growth in wind-powered generation

-26.3% Decline in coal-fired power generation

-2.7% Decline in CO2 emissions

  • Primary energy consumption in the UK fell by just 0.1% in 2017, a much slower rate of decline than over the previous 10 years.
  • Oil and gas remained the dominant energy sources, accounting for 40% and 35% of primary energy consumption, respectively.
  • Crude oil production returned to decline following two years of growth, falling by 1.3%.
  • However natural gas production increased slightly (+0.6%), compared with a 10-year average decline of 6.7% p.a.. The increase reflected reduced maintenance and new fields coming on stream.
  • Oil consumption increased by 0.3%, compared with a 10-year average decline of 1.3% p.a..
  • Refinery throughput declined by 0.6%, a relatively solid performance compared with the 10-year average decline of 3.5% p.a.. Strong refining margins supported high utilization rates.
  • Energy intensity (the amount of energy required per unit of GDP) declined by 1.8%%, having fallen by 3.3% in 2016.
  • Total power generation declined by 0.8% to 340 TWh, its lowest level since 1994, reflecting efficiency measures and warmer weather.
  • For the first time on record a majority of UK power generation came from zero carbon sources (nuclear, hydro and renewables). These accounted for 50.4% of generation, up from 45.7% in 2016.
  • This growth was driven by an increase in renewables output, rising from 78 TWh last year to 93 TWh. Wind (+12 TWh) accounted for more than 80% of the increase.
  • Coal-fired power generation continued to decline (-26.3%), driven by plant closures and the strong carbon price. Coal’s overall share of the generation mix fell to just 6.7%.
  • Gas retained its dominant role in power generation, accounting for 39.7% of total output. Nuclear and hydro output remained broadly stable, accounting for 20.9% and 1.8% of total generation, respectively.
  • Power sector declines drove CO2 emissions from energy use down by 2.7%(vs a 10-year average annual decline of 3.4%).

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