UK DBEIS publishes Q3 2016 energy statistics

By Katie Fletcher | January 10, 2017

At the end of 2016, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy released Energy Trends and Energy Prices publications, covering new data for the third quarter of the year. One of the main points to take away from the third quarter results was the fall of coal’s share (3.6 percent) of electricity generated during the quarter due to reduced capacity, including the closures of Ferrybridge C and Longannet in March, with the conversion of a unit at Drax from coal to high-range cofiring (85 percent or more biomass).

Total energy production in the third quarter of 2016 was 29.9 million metric tons of oil equivalent, 8 percent higher than in the comparable period in 2015. Bioenergy and waste accounted for 1.9 million metric tons of oil equivalent, 3.2 percent lower than 2015 quarter three. Primary electricity output in the third quarter of 2016 was 14.4 percent higher than in the prior year period.

Total inland consumption on a primary fuel input basis was 186.1 million metric tons of oil equivalent during the third quarter of 2016, 5 percent lower than in the same quarter in the prior year. Within this time period, coal and other solid fuel consumption fell by 59 percent, driven by decreased coal use in electricity generation. Primary electricity consumption rose by 11.9 percent in Q3 2016. Final consumption was 2.9 percent lower in 2016 quarter three compared to the same quarter in 2015. The average temperature was 1.6 degrees Celsius warmer in Q3 2016 than Q3 2015, so on a temperature-corrected basis, final energy consumption lessened to 1.1 percent lower over the same period.

Fuel used by generators in the third quarter of 2016 was 5.9 percent lower than in the third quarter of 2015. As noted, electricity generation from coal fell in the third quarter of 2016 by 79 percent as a result of reduced capacity due to Drax’s unit conversion from coal to high-range biomass cofiring, as well as reduced generation at some plants due to market conditions.

Renewables share of electricity generation increased from 23.6 percent in the third quarter of 2015 to 25 percent in Q3 2016. However, renewables’ share was 0.2 percentage points lower compared to 2016 quarter two results.

Renewables generation was up 4.3 percent in the third quarter, accounting for 18.8 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity, mainly due to increased wind and solar capacity. Bioenergy (including cofiring) accounted for 6.1 TWh of the 18.8 TWh in Q3 2016, a decline of 14.5 percent from 7.1 TWh in Q3 2015. This decline is mainly accounted for with maintenance outages at Drax’s converted biomass units. Renewable electricity capacity totaled 33.4 gigawatts (GW) at the end of 2016 quarter three, up 11.3 percent (3.4 GW) from 2015. Of the 33.4 GW, bioenergy accounted for 16 percent.

Low-carbon generation—including renewables, nuclear and gas—accounted for half of electricity generation in Q3 of 2016, which is a record high, up 45.3 percent from 2015 Q3. Overall, total electricity generated in Q3 2016 was 1.2 percent lower at 75.4 TWh than a year earlier, and final consumption of electricity was 1.9 percent lower than a year earlier at 68.9 TWh.

In regards to U.K. biofuels, the share of liquid biofuels of petrol and diesel consumed in road transport was 3.4 percent, up from 3.3 percent in Q3 2015. Liquid biofuels consumption rose by 6 percent, from 282 million liters (74.5 million gallons) in 2015 Q3 to 405 million liters in Q3 of 2016. This was driven by a 21 percent hike in biodiesel consumption from 177 million liters to 215 million liters. Bioethanol consumption decreased by 7.3 percent from 205 million liters in 2015 quarter three to 190 million liters in 2016 quarter three. In 2016 Q3, biodiesel contributed the largest share of biofuels consumption at 53 percent, unchanged from the previous quarter, and bioethanol represented 47 percent of biofuels consumption.

The full Energy Trends and Emery Prices publications can be accessed here. The renewables section can be downloaded here.