Electricity is an essential commodity anywhere in the world. In the UK, generating electricity supplied across various sectors comes from four primary sources:
- Renewable energy
Out of the four sources, gas is the largest and most commonly used by households and businesses. Around 46% of the electricity used within the country comes from gas. Approximately 70% of homes in the UK use gas as a source of energy. But it is important to note that while gas is still the primary source of power in the country, the energy consumption in total has decreased since 1998. The possible decrease in the overall energy consumption within the country could be due to the following reasons:
- Households and companies use energy-efficient technology.
- The government offers incentives for producing renewable energy.
- The UK manufacturing industry which was energy-intensive declined.
This decrease in energy consumption helps the country move forward with its effort to minimise dependency on imported energy sources.
Energy suppliers for businesses
The UK has six large energy suppliers who dominate the market. Commercial companies and the industrial sector rely on the services of these suppliers, on top of providing for all the household needs of the entire country. Energy prices offered by one supplier differ from those of other suppliers. Business contracts usually run for a specific period after which you have the option to switch to another supplier. Switching is encouraged with the help of services like Utility Bidder to help companies get the best deal possible.
Where does the UK get gas from?
The UK mostly imports gas from foreign countries. Imported fuel can be categorised into three: natural gas, crude oil, and petrol products like diesel. In 2015, around one-third of UK fuel imports consisted of crude oil coming from Norway. There is a pipeline running between UK and Norway which makes Norway the primary fuel import partner for the country.
But since 2015, the percentage of imported crude oil coming from Norway has dropped. Instead, a large portion of imported crude oil now comes from countries that are part of OPEC. These countries include Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, and Indonesia.
Aside from crude oil, the UK also imports natural gas from Norway. Natural gas is primarily used for powering households and businesses.
Renewable energy in the UK
Renewable energy can either be the generation of renewable heat or renewable electricity. Renewable energy sources have been contributing steadily to the UK energy market. As of 2013, 14.9% of total energy generation in the UK came from renewable sources. Fast forward to 2017, and this percentage jumped to 29.8%.
The UK aims to reduce energy consumption by 15% by 2020, and renewable sources of energy help the country meet this goal. Even if the UK is no longer part of the EU, the country still complies with the 2009 EU Renewable Directive. To push large industries and businesses to gain more interest in generating renewable energy and not be dependent on imported fuel, the government gives out incentives such as Feed in Tariffs and ROCs.