The UK was the only country in the EU to reduce its electricity consumption last year, with power use growing or stable across the rest of the bloc’s 28 member states. Britain’s appetite for power has been waning for more than a decade as industrial activity declined and businesses and households opted for more energy efficient lighting and appliances. But an analysis of official figures by campaign group Sandbag found the fall between 2016 and 2017 was one of the biggest in several years, marking a striking divergence with the rest of Europe. The UK’s power consumption fell nearly 2% from 355 terawatt hours to 348 tWh, while it rose across the EU as a whole by 0.7% from 3,239 to 3,262 tWh. The growing disparity between the UK and EU has puzzled experts. The gap cannot be explained away solely by shrinking industrial production in Britain or slower economic growth in 2017, of 1.8% versus a forecast of 2.3% for the EU. Simon Evans, the policy editor at analysts CarbonBrief, said: “This is one of the least-reported and most significant stories in the UK power sector. Since 2005, the UK has saved the equivalent of two-and-a-half Hinkley Point Cs [a nuclear power station], a trend that started several years before the financial crisis.” Sandbag also found that for the first time across the EU, renewable sources of power, excluding hydro, overtook coal. Together, wind, solar and biomass accounted for 20.9% of the union’s electricity mix in 2017, up from 9.7% in 2010. “This is incredible progress, considering just five years ago, coal generation was more than twice that of wind, solar and biomass,” the report said.
Guardian 30th Jan 2018 read more »
The UK is winning the race to clean up the energy system by taking a lead on rolling out renewable energy projects and cutting coal-fired power faster than its EU peers. A fresh report, to be published in Brussels today, shows that the UK is leading the way on support for wind and solar power, alongside Germany. But unlike Germany, the UK is also scrapping high-carbon coal-fired power in favour of cleaner alternatives at a quicker rate than almost anywhere else in the EU while German policy makers dither on plans to limit their own carbon emissions. The findings, published by a German think tank and a Brussels-based campaign group, pours cold water on claims that Brexit may dent the UK’s ‘green’ credentials by removing the EU’s clean energy and climate change targets. Britain is close to its 2020 target to generate 30pc of its electricity from renewables but it is not yet halfway towards the target of 12pc in heat and 10pc in transport. Ministers are preparing to tackle its renewable heat and transport targets through its Clean Growth Strategy which prioritises a push towards electric vehicles, energy efficient homes, and low-carbon heating. The UK will wipe out coal use by 2025, so the emerging fleet of electric vehicles to hit British roads will be powered by cleaner generation.
Telegraph 30th Jan 2017 read more »