This report is aiming to discuss energy usage patterns is United Kingdom in terms of primary energy and end user energy. A concept of Combined Heat and Power, its potential to reduce usage of primary energy and associated advantages and disadvantages will be introduced and described in this paper.
Energy Usage in the UK
Energy generation in the United Kingdom comes from a number of different sources. The main sources of electric energy are fossil fuels, nuclear reactors and renewables (Energy UK 2016). Most of the energy is produced in the process of burning fossil fuels, mainly natural gas (29.6%) and coal (22.6%) as shown in Figure 1.1 (DECC 2016 1). A small amount (less than 1%) is generated from oil (Energy UK 2016). Around 21% of electricity in the UK comes from nuclear reactors, which use fission of uranium atoms to produce heat (Energy UK 2016). Renewable energy sources are constantly developing and generating more power every year. In 2015, fuel sources such as wind, waves, solar, hydro and biomass, produced nearly 25% of overall energy generation (Energy UK 2016). It is 28.8% more renewable energy generated than in the year 2014 (DECC 2016 1).
Figure 1.1 Power Generation in 2015 (DECC data, 2016)
Data published by Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy in their report “Energy Trends September 2016” shows that the total production of primary fuels in the UK in 2015 reached 124.5 Mtoe (million tonnes of oil equivalent). Compared to the previous year, when the production reached 10.9 Mtoe, it is an increase of 9.6%. Production of primary fuels for years 2014 and 2015, including a contribution of each type of fuel, is shown in Table 1.1.
Table 1.1: Production of primary fuels in 2014 and 2015 (DBEIS 2016 2)
Bioenergy and waste
Wind, solar and hydro
Per cent change
Looking at the data in Table 1.1, it can be seen that the only primary fuel that noted a decrease in production compared to the previous year is coal. It is due to the UK’s plan to reduce CO2 emissions by phasing out unabated coal-fired power station by 2025 if the security of electricity supplies will be maintained. The first steps were taken in this direction with three large coal power plants have so far closed in 2016 including Logannet, Ferrybridge C and Rugeley. A power plant in Eggborough is not currently connected to the grid (Carbon Brief 2016).
A good trend is noticed in a production of primary electricity (wind, solar, hydro and nuclear). The Wind, solar and hydro production rose by almost 30% in 2015 compared to 2014. Nuclear primary fuel production increased by 11.8%. Considering also a rise in Bioenergy and waste by 18.1% it shows an increasing demand for more clean and environmental sources of energy (DBEIS 2016 2).
Figures 1.2 and 1.3 illustrate the contribution of all fuel types to the total production in years 2014 and 2015. From the graphs, it can be seen that contribution of coal has dropped by 3.1% as well as there is a small increase in primary electricity (nuclear and renewable) and bioenergy share in total energy production.
Unadjusted (not seasonally adjusted or temperature corrected) primary energy consumption in 2015 reached 195,778 ktoe, what is 18% less compared to the year 2001, when the consumption was peaking with 236,856 ktoe used (DBEIS 2016 2). The data showing the contribution of each energy source contribution to total consumption is shown in Table 1.2.
Table 1.2: Consumption of primary energy in 2015 (DBEIS 2016 2)
Bioenergy & Waste
Wind, solar and hydro
Per cent change compared to 2014
Similar to the production of primary fuels, consumption of coal primary energy dropped by almost 21% compared to the year 2014 as a reason for the UK\'s plan to reduce the contribution of power generated using this fossil fuel. The largest increase was noted in wind, solar and hydro energy consumption with a 29.3% increase.
In a report “Updated energy and emission projections 2015” published by Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) projections for primary energy demand and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are discussed. The paper predicts that the demand for primary energy is expected to fall 11% over the next 10 years. It reflects energy efficiency trend as well as energy saving policies. From 2025, it is predicted that primary energy need will rise 10% due to the saving policies coming to an end. Until the end 2035, primary energy demand is going to fall 3% below the current levels. Figure 1.4 illustrates prediction of primary energy requirement until 2035. The pattern shows increment in demand for renewable and nuclear electric energy and a high decrease in a usage of fossil fuels such as coal. That is due to the carbon budgets, which legally bind limits od the total volume od CO2 and GHG emissions. First carbon budget of 3,017 MtCO2e (2008 to 2012) was successful with 36 MtCO2e below it. According to the DECC report the second and third carbon budget, which cover years from 2013 to 2022, are likely to be achieved (DECC 2015).
End User Energy
Since 2014, final energy consumption in the United Kingdom increased by 2.29 Mtoe (1.7%) and reached overall of 137.43 Mtoe in 2015, reflecting a lower mean temperature for the year. This increase was mainly from natural gas consumption, which is a key fuel in providing hot water and heating (DBEIS 2016).
Considering end users of the energy in the UK, there are 4 main sectors: transport, domestic, industry and services. As shown in the Figure 1.5, transport sector is the highest end user with 40% of the final energy used, which is the most of all sector. Domestic sector used 29% of all the energy, leaving the industry and services sectors with 17% and 14% respectively (DBEIS 2016).
Considering transport sector, final energy consumption rose by 1.3% (684 ktoe) in 2015 when compared to the previous year. Energy intensity in this sector, which is defined as energy consumption per unit output, noted a decrease by 0.9 Mtoe from 2013 to 2014. Transport sector can be divided into three main types: road, air, rail and water transport. The largest share of this sector is road transport (74% of transport consumption), which used 40,521 ktoe in 2015. This was a 559 ktoe increase when compared to the previous year. Final energy consumption in the air transport (23 % of transport consumption) increased by 1.2% to 12,573 in 2015. This was mainly caused by a growth of passengers numbers. Rail and water transport, which are the smallest users in transport section, both fell in fuel consumption compared to the previous year by 1.6% and 1.8% respectively (DBEIS 2016).
The domestic sector noted a rise by 1,391 ktoe (3.6%) to 39,623 ktoe in 2015. The majority of it was due to the lower mean temperature, which was 0.6 degree Celsius lower than in 2014. This sector is the most vulnerable to temperature fluctuations of all sectors. It is due to the fact that space and water heating account for around 80% of final energy consumption. Considering that majority of space and water heating are provided by gas, it results in gas consumption in the domestic sector being the most responsive to temperature changes. Energy consumption per household increased between 2014 and 2015 by 2.6%. In addition, consumption per person also grew from 2014 by 2.8% (DBEIS 2016). According to Office for National Statistics, the United Kingdom population is 64.4 million (2014 data). It would give an estimate of 0.615 tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) per one person considering domestic sector usage and around 2.13 toe considering the final energy usage in the UK in 2015.
Final energy consumption in the industrial sector decreased by 124 ktoe (0.5%) to overall 23,594 ktoe in 2015. It was the lowest level since 1970. The subsectors that noted the largest fall were mineral products, by 109 ktoe, iron and steel, by 96 ktoe and mechanical engineering, by 62 ktoe. The subsectors that showed an increase include vehicles, by 46 ktoe; chemicals, by 44 ktoe and instrument end electrical engineering, by 19 ktoe (DBEIS 2016).
In the service sector, consumption of the final energy increased by 341 ktoe between 2014 and 2015. 65% of services consumption was accounted for the commercial sector. Public administration share was 29% and the agriculture sector was 5.7% of services consumption of final energy (DBEIS 2016).
DECC 2016 1 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/513244/Press_Notice_March_2016.pdf
DECC 2016 2 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/501292/eepReport2015_160205.pdf
DBEIS 2016 2
Carbon Brief 2016
Office for national statistics
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