Thursday, 27 September 2012

UK energy decline continues - DECC Energy Trends Sep 2012

DECC has just published their latest quarterly Energy Trends, and surprise surprise, the UK's energy production is continuing to plummet. The headline figure is that total indigenous energy production has fallen by 10.1%, but this includes nuclear power, which isn't really indigenous as we have to buy uranium for reactors from other countries. So excluding nuclear, the drop is actually 11.4% compared to a year ago.

Here's the breakdown of the overall changes in production from Q2 2011 to Q2 2012:

  • Coal: down 2.9%
  • Oil: down 12.2%
  • Gas: down 12.9%
  • Nuclear: down 3.3%
  • Renewables: up 6.5%

While it's pleasing to see renewables up 6.5%, we should bear in mind the relative quantities of energy we're talking about... So here's the amounts produced in Q2 2012 in Mtoe (million tonnes of oil equivalent):

  • Coal: 3.8 Mtoe
  • Oil: 12.9 Mtoe
  • Gas: 10.2 Mtoe
  • Nuclear: 4.2 Mtoe
  • Renewables: 0.43 Mtoe
Still a very long way to go to get off fossil fuels then...

The Energy Trends table 1.3a (page 11) conveniently tells us the total energy import dependency of the UK as well. Here's the results for Q2 over the past 3 years:
  • Q2 2010: 26.0% imports
  • Q2 2011: 31.8% imports
  • Q2 2012: 42.1% imports
Anyone else spot a trend here? 42.1% is a new record level of dependency on imports, and if the trends keep going the same way as in previous years, we'll set some new record imports in the next two quarters as well.

Here's a few graphs from the report for the key energy sources:

 Oil import/export/production

Gas import/export/production

Coal imports/production

Fuel used to generate electricity
 Renewable sources of energy

So, with ever lower energy production, and the changes to gas storage I mentioned in my previous post, we may be in for interesting times if this winter is a cold one...


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