UK energy consumption on the rise
The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced that total energy consumption in the UK increased by 1.1% in 2018 to reach 143mn toe, the highest level since 2013.
The increase was driven by growth in gas final consumption of over 1.6mn toe; nearly three quarters of which was in the domestic sector because of the severe weather early in 2018 brought by the ‘Beast from the East’.
Consumption of petroleum fell by 1.1%, primarily because use for transport fell by 0.8%. These were the first decreases in petroleum demand since 2013.
Bioenergy consumption increased in all sectors, but most notably in transport where it reached a record 3.3% share of total road fuel. Overall transport consumption remained broadly stable.
The energy ratio fell by 2.4%, meaning that increased efficiencies reduced the amount of energy needed to underpin each unit of GDP (£1mn).
Commenting on the news, Mike Hughes, Zone President UK & Ireland at Schneider Electric, says: ‘[These] energy consumption figures should be a wake-up call. The fact that our energy consumption has risen to the highest level since 2013 is a clear indication that much more needs to be done to change people’s attitudes to energy use. Energy sources, from coal to solar, continue to grab the headlines, whilst energy usage remains widely ignored. Without embracing both, achieving our 2050 net-zero goal is an impossible task.’
He continues: ‘Our own research has found that consumers and businesses lack the understanding and incentives to take action. Three-quarters of the public believe they already do enough with regards to reducing energy usage, while a further 10% of consumers have no plans to limit their usage in anyway. In the same report, 68% of business leaders reported their organisations waste energy whilst almost half (43%) said their organisation had not implemented any measures aimed at tackling these inefficiencies in 2018.’
‘We must bring efficiency to the front of public and business conscious and create momentum to rethink energy. Only by moving to an activist approach, building and instilling an investment mindset in energy efficiency, can we hope to meet the climate change challenge ahead.’