Today the government released its latest energy statistics and trends, and we felt that it was a good time to reflect on the past year. What was the good and the bad energy news in 2012?
Good Energy Trends:
- While final energy consumption, or the energy actually used by the end consumer, was 2% higher in 2012 than in 2011, the weather adjusted amount of energy consumed before transmission (or primary energy) was actually 0.5% less
- There was a 2% increase in the UK’s renewable energy generation from 2011 to 2012, increasing to a record 11% of total energy generated.
- Electricity consumption dropped by just under 0.5% compared to 2011 and reached its lowest point since 1998. Gas use dropped 5.5%, although this is largely because gas prices meant that coal was favoured for electricity generation over gas.
- Low carbon electricity, mainly renewables and nuclear, increased their generation to 30.5% in 2012, up 2.5% on 2011.
- Wind generation increased by 31.5% with offshore wind making the big change with a rise of 45.5% due to increased capacity.
- UK domestic gas prices are the lowest and electricity prices are the fifth lowest in the EU15*.
Bad Energy Trends:
- As a result of the cold weather in 2012, energy consumption in homes rose by 10% compared to 2011. However temperatures were on average 1 degree colder, which means that if a temperature adjusted measure is taken there was no meaningful change in domestic consumption.
- Hydro generation decreased by 8% compared to 2011 because of lower rainfall
- Energy imports were at a record high in 2012, and exports dropped to their lowest level since 1989 as oil production from the North Sea and other areas dropped off.
- Coal’s share as a fuel for electricity generation grew by a staggering 9%, largely due to increasing gas prices, whose share decreased by 13%.
- Average electricity bills rose from 2011 to 2012; measured by fixed consumption across a range of tariffs bills were £26 higher, up 5.7%.
- Average gas bills (measured in a similar way) were £81 higher, up 11%.
In general, it seems higher energy prices are going to be an enduring trend despite all our valiant efforts to switch to renewable energies. We as a nation are going to have to import more fossil fuels a a higher price and there is no getting around that.
This is the fate of the country as a whole, but it needn’t necessarily be yours. Installing a microgeneration technology in your home can largely free you from rising energy prices, and can save you a significant amount of money on your bills in the process. Why not complete our free energy assessment now to see which improvements would save money in your home?
* The EU 15 are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.