Government provide UK energy mix statistics in detail – notable reduction in coal

For readers who, might – just might, have become interested in the current state of the UK’s energy issues, I’ve got a couple more articles on the topic to feed that interest.

In the December 22nd Press Notice from the Department for Business, Energy, & Industrial Strategy on the release of Qtr3 2016 UK energy statistics is this,

Low carbon electricity’s share of generation accounted for a record high 50.0 per cent in the third quarter of 2016, up from 45.3 per cent in the same period of 2015, with increased generation from renewables (wind and solar) and nuclear.


What’s startling in the Press Notice is the table showing the reduction in the amount of coal used for power generation. See table below. This important change is explained in the complete UK Energy Trends statistics for Qtr3 2016 – all 110 pages of it. Here’s part of the story from the report – associated with the table below.

Coal production in the third quarter of 2016 was 1.0 million tonnes, 28 per cent lower than the third quarter of 2015. This was mainly due to the last large deep mine Kellingley closing in December 2015. Deep mine production fell by 99 per cent to 5 thousand tonnes (a new record low). There are just seven small deep mines remaining. Surface mine production rose by 1.8 per cent to 1.0 million tonnes


Ever wondered about the sources of power in the National Grid

Sometimes you come across a website that truly surprises. Gridwatch is one of those. In one real-time screen Gridwatch provides the information on where the UK’s electricity comes from – coal, nuclear, gas, wind, and from interconnectors. I’ll not witter on about it, but let you marvel at the dashboard of gauges and monitors.

From just a little inspection of the gauges and monitors I’ve deduced that,

  • So little of our electricity is generated from wind is a poor return on the £billions we’ve invested
  • Coal-fired power generation is a reducing element of our power spectrum, with the use of gas increasing
  • I’d imagined that nuclear generated electricity would be higher. I guess it’s a result of our aging nuclear power stations being off-line for maintenance, or even closed.
  • Some sources of power generation are held in reserve, such as oil and hydro
  • Pumped hydro-electric power generation sources amount to just 1.5% – such as Dinorwig
  • Through the interconnectors, we’re a supplier of electricity to Ireland, and importer from France and Netherlands

If you click on the same dashboard view for France [by clicking on the French icon in the top left hand corner] it shows that 100% of electricity demand can be generated from nuclear power stations, with a small % from Hydro. [Click on image to enlarge].