Total UK energy production edges up in 2016 – despite collapse in coal and slump in final quarter

The provisional 2016 total energy production in the UK was 1.2 per cent higher than in 2015, according to the latest Govt. figures from the Dept. of Business and Energy (BEIS).

This increase, which follows an increase of 9.6 per cent between 2014 and 2015, was due to rises in output from oil, gas, bioenergy and nuclear.

Coal output fell to a record low level, whilst output from wind, solar and natural flow hydro also fell.

Total primary energy consumption for energy uses was 1.5 per cent lower than in 2015. However, when adjusted to take account of weather differences between 2015 and 2016, primary energy consumption fell by 2.5 per cent.

Final energy consumption (excluding non-energy use) was 1.1 per cent higher than in 2015, with rises in the domestic, transport and services sectors but with a fall in the industrial sector. On a seasonally and temperature adjusted basis it is estimated to have risen by 0.6 per cent.

Net import dependency was 35.6 per cent in 2016. Imports and exports both fell in 2016. Fossil fuel dependency was at a record low in 2016 at 81.5 per cent.

However, in the last three months of 2016, total energy production – at 32.3 million tonnes of oil equivalent –  was 1.8 per cent lower than in the same period in 2015.

Production of oil fell by 5 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2015, despite strong growth in NGL output.

Production of gas rose by 3.3 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2015, boosted by production from the North Sea’s new Laggan field.

Primary electricity output in the fourth quarter of 2016 was 2.9 per cent lower than in the fourth quarter of 2015, within which nuclear electricity output was 1.0 per cent higher following outages in 2015, whilst output from wind, solar and natural flow hydro was 14.9 per cent lower due to less favourable weather conditions for renewable generation, particularly wind generation.

Production of bioenergy and waste was 5.3 per cent higher compared to the fourth quarter in 2015. In the fourth quarter of 2016 production of coal and other solid fuels was 26 per cent lower than the corresponding period of 2015.

This was mainly due to the last deep British coal mine in operation at Kellingley in North Yorkshire closing in December 2015.

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