The energy industry is one of the biggest industries in the UK, with around 1 in every 49 UK jobs being located within the different energy sectors. Energy consumption in the UK has been seen to both rise and fall with new technology becoming more energy efficient, but increased technology use has been causing an increased energy demand.
No matter how much energy we use, the country must meet those demands by ensuring that there is enough energy to keep the country running. Meeting the country’s energy demands is vital; we need commercial energy to keep businesses running, residential energy to power our homes, and energy must be used to keep street lights shining and hospitals operating as well.
In the UK, two types of energy are supplied to our homes, gas and electricity, the production and distribution of which vary significantly. Gas must be obtained from the ground, using pumps and wells, while electricity is generated through a multitude of ways to keep up with demand.
With energy always readily available in our homes, many don’t stop to wonder ‘where does the UK get its energy from?’
In 2014, the UK consumed around 2,249 TWh of energy to keep everything powered. However, in the UK, we are not capable of producing all the energy that we require, creating an energy gap that must be filled, so that we don’t fall short of what we need.
Closing the energy gap means that we have to source a large proportion of our energy from different countries, while the UK looks at creating new methods of energy generation, to sustain our current energy use.
Gas Use in the UK
Gas is used in the UK to directly power our homes, and to generate electricity in plants, making it extremely important for the energy requirements of the country as a whole.
The gas industry can be unstable, with the supplies of gas slowly decreasing in our current extraction sites. With new sources of the fossil fuel being needed to be located, the answers to ‘where does the UK get its energy from?’ could easily change in coming years.
The distribution of gas to our homes and businesses is controlled by the gas distribution network, and while the gas is the property of the different energy suppliers in the UK, its transportation is the responsibility of the national grid.
Gas coming into the country is received by reception terminals, where it goes into the transmission stage, so the national transmission system can store the gas for future use.
Once the gas is required, it enters the distribution network for delivery to one of 8 sites across the UK, 4 of which are owned by the National Grid and 4 of which are privately owned.
After reaching the new sites, it is ready to be piped to individual properties and business premises for use. A certain percentage of the gas used by the UK is also used to generate our second energy requirement, electricity.
Where Does the Gas Come From?
As of 2015, the UK was responsible for the production of 45% of its overall gas requirements, leaving 55% to be sourced from international producers. The UK produces its own gas from a number of drilling rigs located in the East Irish Sea, and the North Sea, with that gas being piped directly into the country to be managed by the National Grid.
The UK relies on two different international sources of gas: those from Europe, and those that are delivered through tankers from elsewhere in the world. Around 38% of the UK’s gas requirements come from European gas sources, of which the primary producers are Russia and Norway.
Much like the gas produced by the UK, European gas is piped into the country to be distributed by the National Grid. The remaining 17% of gas that’s required comes from further afield, and a tanker is used to transport it to the UK. This international gas is condensed for ease of transport, the condensed form being known as Liquefied Natural Gas.
Electricity Use in the UK
When most people wonder where the UK get its energy from, they primarily think of electricity. The UK’s electricity requirements are met through various forms of generation, both from sources within the UK, and those that are based internationally.
To ensure that the national grid has adequate power to supply the UK, the different types of power generation have to be managed efficiently. If the gap between what we can produce, and what we need wasn’t supplemented from outside sources, residents in the UK would receive an inconsistent supply of power.
The UK is putting a heavy reliance on international imports to meet demands, and close the energy gap, with a recent article by the Telegraph showing the rising trends of increased use of international electricity.
Without the different sources of electricity generation working together, the UK would not be able to obtain enough energy to function, making each role in electricity generation crucial to maintaining a workable balance.
Fossil fuels still provide the largest source of electricity in the UK, with over 50% of the overall electricity requirements being met by the use of fossil fuels alone.
The primary fossil fuels that are used are gas and coal, with a minute proportion of electricity being generated through the use of oil.
The use of fossil fuels is not sustainable, and with the decreasing worldwide supply, many countries, including the UK, are looking for better and more sustainable options, with the goal to become significantly less reliant on fossil fuels overall.
Renewable Energy Sources
The UK is becoming more and more energy efficient, with the introduction of new renewable energy harvesting technology. Currently, the UK relies on renewable energy for over 20% of the overall energy that’s being used. This comes from multiple sources including: wind turbine fields, hydro and wave energy and through solar panels.
Solar energy is being utilised by many households, with the installation of solar panels on their roofs, providing renewable energy for the national grid, in return for better energy costs across the board.
Renewable energy is being highly invested in as the UK looks to a more sustainable future, hoping to increase renewable energy production to 30% before 2020.
Currently, the UK still relies heavily on energy generated through nuclear power, although with recent government initiatives, this is set to change in coming years.
The government wants to move away from nuclear energy, towards those energy sources that are better for the environment, and produce fewer toxic emissions.
With the UK’s nuclear energy providing around 21% of the electricity we need to stay powered, there are many new schemes being put in place for modern reactors, that are less harsh on the environment.
The UK purchases electricity from abroad, in order to keep the supply to homes and businesses stable and consistent. This is achieved through interconnector cables, that have been installed between the UK and other countries, such as France and the Netherlands.
Overall, this only provides a little over 5% of the total electricity used within the UK, but without the international cable links, we would not have enough electricity to stay stable, and adequately meet our demands.
As well as the direct importation of electricity, the UK imports a proportion of the fossil fuels it requires to generate energy. This importation is crucial to maintaining both electricity supplies and gas supplies.
Looking to the future, renewable energy may also become internationally imported, as the government looks to other countries as potential locations to generate the electricity that the UK needs. This is in addition to the increase of renewable energy farms, located within the UK.
Getting the Best Price for Your Energy
As the UK looks at different ways to generate electricity and source gas in the future, it is incredibly important to get the best deals for our energy now. With the aim to become less reliant on fossil fuels, and generate more renewable energy, finding the cheapest energy deals can help customers to stay protected against the persistent price hikes.
One of the best ways to ensure that you get the most out of your money is to use an energy switching website, such as the services provided by My Energy. As suppliers negotiate the best prices for the energy they purchase, it is important to feel the savings in your own home.
Making the most of the competition between providers enables customers to receive better prices if they know where to look.
In many cases it is possible to change provider without penalty, so finding the cheapest energy deals for your property’s individual requirements can be done on a regular basis, to keep costs down, and keep savings up.
A process that only takes a few minutes to complete, it is essential to ensuring you get the very best deal on offer, regardless of how supplies change in the future.
Hacked off be energy price hikes? We hear you, and we’re here to help! Visit: www.myenergy.co.uk to start saving money today!