Based on the latest energy statistics in the UK, total energy consumption in the second quarter of 2021 rose to 33% compared to the same period of 2020.
How does the UK meet energy demands? How much does it produce, and what falls to imports? Are there any differences in energy bills across regions?
To make things clearer for you, we’ve put together these energy statistics in the UK.
Let’s dive in.
This number is a reduction of 27% compared to the second quarter of 2020 and the lowest quarterly level recorded in the 21st century. The decline is mainly due to maintenance on the North Sea, primarily on the Forties Pipeline Kinneil terminal, the lower number of sun hours and reduced wind speed.
Transport consumption saw the highest increase of 63% due to the easing of travel restrictions, followed by service sector consumption with 20% due to shops and workplaces opening again. The domestic sector rose by 19% as more people continued to work from their homes in average temperatures slightly colder than a year earlier. The industrial sector energy consumption saw a 17% rise.
Domestic users accounted for 32.7% of total electricity demand in 2020, slightly higher than in 2019 when they took up a share of 30%. Industry consumption, on the other hand, made up 25%, while commercial demands accounted for 19% of total electricity demand in 2020.
With reduced demand, the total of electricity supplied in 2020 declined to 329.9 TWh. A record-low electricity generation level was registered at 312 TWh, down 3.6% compared to 2019.
With 17.9 TWh, net imports were 5.4% of total electricity supplied in the UK. Total net imports were down by 15% compared to 2019, with almost half of the UK’s electricity imports (47%) coming from France.
Belgium and the Netherlands also imported electricity to the UK, 4.9 and 4.1 TWh accordingly.
Between 2015 and 2040, the demand for electricity net imports in the UK was forecasted to grow from two to six million tonnes of oil equivalent. Primary energy demand from renewable energy sources is also expected to grow in the future, reaching up to 26 million metric tons of oil equivalent in 2040.
Although demand for coal is seasonal and coal-fired electricity generation is becoming less competitive, the demand nearly doubled from 166 thousand tonnes in the second quarter of 2020 to 330 thousand tonnes a year later.
With just three coal plants still operational in the UK, the use of coal for electricity generation is expected to cease entirely by 2024.
Compared to the second quarter of 2020, coal production fell by 18% in the second quarter of 2021. This came as a result of frequent mine closures and a general falling demand for coal.
The gap between demand and supply for coal was filled with imports, which increased to 1.2 million tonnes in 2021. The majority of imported coal came from Russia (49%), followed by the USA (18%) and Australia (12%). These three countries together account for 79% of total coal imports.
Indigenous production of crude oil and natural gas liquids dropped under nine million metric tons in 2021 for the first time in the last seven years. In fact, production was down by almost one-third from April to June 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.
It’s the second-lowest production level on record, mostly caused by the planned critical maintenance of the Forties Pipeline System.
The demand for primary oils, which increased by a fifth in Q2 2021, has been met through a 38% increase in imports. Thus, the UK was once again a net importer of primary oils, importing 3.4 million tonnes.
Export, however, fell 25% compared to last year.
(Statista) (CEIC Data) (BEIS)
With most of oil consumption in the UK being used for transport, consumption decreased to 1.19 million barrels per day compared to 2019, when the final consumption was 1.53 million barrels per day.
UK oil stocks were also reduced to 10.2 million tonnes in June 2021 following changes in the stocking protocol and the easing of the COVID-19 restrictions.
This is slightly lower than the previous five winters when demand ranged from 50.7 to 53.3 billion cubic metres. Peak demand, on the other hand, is set at 50.5 billion cubic metres.
Despite lowered demands, supply is forecast to go up to 60.9 bcm. This includes all sources such as domestic gas production and imports.
(S&P Global) (BBC)
The UK still produces a lot of its own gas. However, it has a limited short-range supply, making it dependent on imports and price increases. At the moment, Qatar is the biggest supplier of liquid natural gas (96,904 GWh), while a considerable amount of natural gas comes from Norway (266,155 GWh), the Netherlands (11,073 GWh) and Belgium (7,548 GWh).
Renewable capacities generated 134.6 TWh in 2020, outstripping fossil fuel generation for the first time. However, growth in renewable capacity has been declining since the start of 2020 due to unfavourable weather conditions. The still weather, in particular, has reduced wind generation by 14%. Thus, renewable electricity generation was just 26.9 TWh in Q2 2021, a 9.6% drop from the same period the previous year.
This figure represents a decrease of 7.2% from Q2 2020. The share of fossil fuel generation, on the other hand, increased to 43.4% over the same period.
Renewables’ share of electricity generation in Q2 2021 looks like this:
(Solar Power Portal)
The solar industry in the UK is on a steady growth, posting 175MWp of solar photovoltaic capacity in the first quarter of 2021. Ground-mounted solar farms contributed to 70% of the total, while roof installations, which are mainly meant for commercial and private use, account for the remaining 30%.
A total of 397,827 customers switched their electricity suppliers in August. Of these, 24% moved from larger to small & mid-tier suppliers, and 16% switched from small and mid-tier to larger suppliers. On top of that, 46% of customers switched from one large supplier to another, and 14% replaced a small and mid-tier supplier with another from the same category.
From January to July 2021, 2.2 million gas customers switched, with nearly 741.000 moving from large legacy to other suppliers for gas. Slightly more electricity customers (3.1 million) also changed suppliers in the same period, with 949,000 switching from large legacy to other electricity suppliers.
The contribution by the energy industries to the economy was 2.1% of GVA in 2020, dropping by 0.3 percentage points from 2019. Energy contributed 7.3% of the total investments and 26.4% of industrial investments.
This number represents a 23% decline from 2019 and the lowest on record since 2010. Of total investments:
Employment increased by 2.3% from 2019, accounting for 6.4% of all industrial employment. More than 180,000 were indirectly employed in the energy industry, BEIS estimates.
According to Ofgem, the number of active suppliers in the first quarter of 2021 remained the same as the previous quarter, with one supplier exiting the market (Nabuh Energy acquired by British Gas at the end of March) and one entering (Rebel Energy).
41 of these supply gas and electricity, while 5 only provide gas and 3 only supply electricity. Large legacy suppliers account for 70% of both gas and electricity production, while the remaining 30% are taken up by other suppliers.
As gas prices continue to rise, four energy suppliers collapsed, leaving around 24,000 households without a supplier. Out of the companies affected, Zebra Power had the biggest user base (4,800 households), followed by Omni Energy with 6,000 domestic customers. MA Energy and AmpowerUK supplied about 300 and 2,000 overseas customers, accordingly.
By comparison, the cheapest tariff basket averages at £1,084 a year. Compared to the rest of Europe, the average UK domestic gas prices are below the average European price, but the UK domestic electricity price is above the EU average.
Energy data shows that the average bill for gas & electricity across all UK homes is £1,207 per year or around £3.31 a day. This equals 3.300 kWh of average electricity usage and 16.500 kWh of average gas usage per household.
Further energy facts and stats reveal that:
London is the cheapest area in the UK with annual utility bills coming around at £775. The most expensive area, however, is Dumfries and Galloway, where the annual bills reach up to an average of £2,416.
People in Northern Ireland also spend 66% a week on electricity than London, which is the region least affected by increasing gas prices. Second in line is Scotland where households spend 41% more than London residents, followed by Wales—people there spent 10% more of their weekly household budget on heat and electricity than the average UK household.
Gas prices have quadrupled over the past year, going up from about 90p in January to 261p in October 2021. And while gas prices have increased all over Europe, the UK is hit the most as 85% of homes in the country use gas central heating. On top of that, more than a third of electricity is generated by gas.
As these energy statistics from the UK reveal, the country has lowered energy production by 27%, while demand in Q2 2021 has increased by a third compared to the same period of 2020. The combination of rising demands, calm weather, lockdowns and a hike in gas prices across Europe seem to have brought the UK at the brink of an energy crisis.
Stocking up on warm clothes might just be the best idea for the coming winter.
Bojana is my name and writing is my game. I am a content writer from Bitola who is always interested in the latest research in almost all areas of life. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a perfectionist character, both of which help me find the most accurate data and information available. Although I have my head stuck in studies and reports most of the time, I still have a bit of free time during which I enjoy knitting and watching classic 90’s Disney movies.