UK DECC releases first quarter energy statistics

By Katie Fletcher | July 13, 2015

At the end of June, the U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change published first quarter energy statistics in its Energy Trends and Energy Prices publications.

The Energy Trends publication includes statistics on energy production and consumption, in total and by fuel, and provides an analysis of the year-on-year changes. Energy Prices covers prices to domestic and industrial consumers, prices of oil products and comparisons of international fuel prices.

The U.K. has made progress to its 15 percent target under the 2009 EU Renewable Directive. According to the notice of the issued publications, provisional calculations show that 7 percent of final energy consumption in 2014 came from renewable sources, up from 5.7 percent in 2013. The contribution of renewable electricity grew 19 percent, while renewable heating and renewable transport contributions also increased.

In the 2015 edition of Energy Trends, a summary of renewables statistics for 2014 is included for the first time. A full set of renewables statistics will also appear in the Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics 2015, which will be published on July 30. Some main features to the statistics include the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources in 2014 was 64,654 gigawatt hours (GWh), a 21 percent increase over the year. Generation capacity increased by 4.8 GW to 24.6 GW. Heat from renewables increased 4.6 percent during 2014, and renewable biofuels for transportation rose 14 percent. Renewable transportation fuels accounted for 3.9 percent of overall road transportation fuels in 2014.

The notice highlighted some main points that occurred in the first quarter concerning U.K.’s production and consumption of energy. After six consecutive falls in the quarterly series, final energy consumption was up 2.4 percent on a temperature-corrected basis. Without factoring in the weather, final consumption was 6 percent higher in the first quarter, with domestic consumption up 10.8 percent, reflecting the cooler weather, compared to the same quarter in 2014. The average temperature in the first quarter of 2015 was 1.3 degrees Celsius (34 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than the same period in the prior year. Primary energy consumption rose by 4.2 percent. However, when adjusted to reflect weather differences from the same period in 2014, primary energy consumption increased by 0.5 percent.

While consumption increased, energy production also rose, but only slightly, up 1.5 percent than the first quarter of 2014. The small increase is attributed to rises in the production of bioenergy and waste, and from nuclear as a result of stations returning to operation after outages and maintenance. The breakdown of the electricity generated in quarter one includes coal accounting for 31 percent, gas 25 percent and nuclear generation 19 percent. Renewable energy options—hydro, wind and other renewables—share of electricity generation increased from 19.6 percent in the first quarter of 2014 to a new record level of 22.3 percent in quarter one of this year, mostly reflecting increased capacity. Wind generation alone was up 5.3 percent. The renewable electricity generation was 21.1 terawatt hours (TWh) in the first quarter, which was an increase of 15 percent on the same quarter a year earlier.

Overall, energy production was up 1.5 percent compared to the first quarter of 2014. Natural gas fell 0.5 percent and production of oil fell by 5.3 percent compared to quarter one 2014. The release stated this was a result of low production at the Huntington field.

Primary electricity output in the first quarter of 2015 was 8.6 percent higher than in the same period in the prior year, including an increase of 10 percent in nuclear electricity output and an increase of 4.6 percent in wind and natural-flow hydro. Production of bioenergy and waste in quarter one was 27 percent higher, while coal and other solid fuels was 8.4 percent higher than the comparable period in the prior year.

According to the notice, total inland energy consumption on a primary fuel input basis was 199.6 million metric tons of oil equivalent in the quarter, or 0.5 percent higher than the same quarter in 2014. Between the first quart of 2014 and quarter one of 2015, coal and other solid-fuel consumption fell 17.4 percent as demand from electricity generators fell. Oil, gas and primary electricity consumption rose, however, by 1 percent, 3.5 percent and 7.6 percent respectively. Total energy quarterly tables are available on the DECC section of the GOV.UK website.

The notice reported on coal production and consumption, which, overall, rose in production by 3 million metric tons due to favorable geological and weather conditions. Imports of coal for the first quarter decreased by 9.1 percent due to lower demand than in 2014’s comparable period of 11.5 metric tons. Total demand was 13.8 million metric tons, down 13 percent from the first quarter of 2014, with consumption of electricity generators down 15 percent to 11.3 million metric tons.

Indigenous U.K. production of natural gas in the quarter was 114.8 TWh, similar to the comparable period during the prior year. Imports of gas increased by 9.1 percent compared to the prior year period, with shipped imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) accounting for 22 percent of all imports. The global supply for LNG has increased, but demand in Asia is relatively low so there has been a substantial increase in LNG imports into the U.K.—a majority of which originate in Norway, 61 percent, and Qatar, 19 percent, according to the notice.

Compared to 2014 quarter one, generation from bioenergy increased by 45.7 percent to 6.7 TWh largely due to a second conversion at Drax Power Station to dedicated biomass. Renewable electricity capacity was 26.4 GW at the end of the first quarter of 2015, 23.1 percent or 5 GW higher than a year earlier and a 7.4 percent increase or 1.8 GW change from 2014 quarter four.  Liquid biofuels represented 2.9 percent of petrol and diesel consumed in road transportation in the first quarter of 2015, or 0.7 percent lower than in 2014 quarter one. Renewables quarterly tables are available on the DECC section of the GOV.UK website.