The UK energy market in 2016

Coal consumption in the UK declined by 52.5% in 2016 and accounted for only 6% of primary energy consumption - its lowest share since the industrial revolution

Fast facts

  1. Oil production increased by 50 Kb/d in 2016, the second consecutive increase after 15 consecutive years of decline.
  2. Power generation (-0.4%) was declining or flat for the sixth year in a row with non-fossil fuels accounting for over 46% of total power generation.
  3. Renewable energy growth was flat in 2016 (-0.1%) with strong solar growth (+36%) offset by a fall in wind (-7%).

-1.7% Growth in UK energy consumption

1.4% UK’s share of global energy consumption in 2016

+0.4% Growth in UK energy production

0.9% UK’s share of global energy production in 2016 

  • UK primary energy consumption fell by 1.7% in 2016, around the same rate as the 10-year average (-1.8%).
  • Oil and gas remained the dominant fuels with a 39% and 37% share of primary energy consumption respectively.
  • Gas consumption grew 12.2% - this compares to the 10-year average growth rate of -3.3%.
  • Coal consumption (11 mtoe) is at the lowest level on record and 90% below the peak in our data which begins in 1965.
  • In 2016 wind and solar combined contributed nearly as much as coal in the UK energy mix (10.8 mtoe).
  • Despite being flat in 2016, renewable energy in power generation accounted for 9.3% of UK primary energy consumption and 23% of UK power generation.
  • Energy intensity (the amount of energy required per unit of GDP) declined by 3.5% in 2016.
  • CO2 emissions from energy use fell by 6.5% in 2016, much faster than the 10-year average (-2.8%), its lowest level on record.
  • Primary energy production increased by 0.4% in 2016 as production of oil (+4.4%) and gas (+3.3%) outweighed a sharp decline in coal (-51.5%).
  • Natural gas production increased by 3.3%, the third consecutive increase after 13 consecutive declines. Oil and gas combined are about 70% of domestic energy production.
  • With the UK’s last three underground mines closing, coal production declined by 51.5% to just 3 mtoe in 2016.
  • Non-fossil fuels expanded their market share to nearly 19% of primary energy consumption, the highest level on record.
  • Non-fossil fuels in aggregate supplied nearly 46% of UK power in 2016.
  • Solar grew by 36% in 2016 to 2.3 mtoe (13% of total renewables); this compares to less than 0.1 mtoe just five years ago. Wind generation declined (-7.2%) to 8.5 mtoe in 2016.

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