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Britain’s extraordinary reduction in electricity use

Guardian 30th Jan 2018, 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.


February 2, 2018 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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