Energy consumption is expected to increase by 50 per cent across the UK between 2005 and 2030, with this substantial rise set to be a result of the nation’s growing population and their increased demand for energy.
Which energy sources make up the UK’s energy market though? Commercial gas suppliers Flogas investigates and also looks into just how reliable they are…
The UK’s renewable energy sources
Both in the UK and across the globe, renewable energy continues to become more and more popular. Many countries are investing in solar panels and wind farms to generate electricity in new ways. However, many believe that these are less reliable sources of energy and we could never be 100 per cent reliant on them.
When it comes to solar power, the UK leads the way across the European nations regarding the growth of solar energy produced. In the entirety of Europe, solar provides four per cent of all electricity demand. However, following the UK government’s decision to cut incentives for householders to fit solar panels and for solar farms to be built, the amount of solar power installed in 2016 fell by around 50 per cent compared to the year before.
It must be noted though that solar energy is dependent on both the intensity and availability or sunlight and so cannot be deemed a fully reliable source.
Just like solar power is reliant on sunlight, the energy generated from wind farms depends on how strong the wind is at the time of the power being produced. In 2016 though, it was reported that windfarms across the UK generated more electricity than coal power plants and were able to produce more power than solar panels.
The UK’s fossil fuel energy sources
While renewable energy is becoming more popular across the UK, fossil fuels are still seen as the nation’s most used type of energy sources. Made up of natural gas and coal, it is a reliable form of energy that has supplied both domestic and commercial needs for many years.
One of the most eye-catching characteristics of natural gas is that it is a reliable energy source which can provide power whenever it is required. The presence of gas fired power stations was up 45 per cent between 2015 and 2016. This could be down to the collapse of coal generated energy.
Natural gas also stands out for emitting 45 per cent less carbon dioxide than coal, as well as 30 per cent less CO2 than oil. This shows that the impact that it has on the environment is not as extreme as alternate forms of fuel.
You can use natural gas for many tasks too. It has its own purpose domestically for cooking, heating and drying as well as being able to generate electric power, power vehicles, produce plastics and many more useful purposes.
On top of all of this, gas is the most available energy source on a worldwide scale today and is extracted by various countries for use through a method of drilling.
We have already touched on the downfall of the coal generated energy market above. This point is underlined by the fact that three major coal power stations closed last year, leading to coal electricity generation plummeting from 22.6 per cent to 9.2 per cent. It is also at its lowest output in 80 years.
Factoring in nuclear power as an energy source
Another large energy source for the UK which cannot be ignored is nuclear power. In June 2017, it was reported that it accounted for 23.2 per cent of energy generated in the UK. This source of energy is also reliable as it can provide power whenever it is needed. It does not emit carbon dioxide but can be harmful if there are any accidents on site.
The above research suggests that natural gas can currently be seen as the most accessible, reliable and resilient supply of energy not only in the UK, but across the globe. Although renewable energy is on the rise, it is not always able to provide power and this can be problematic in some situations.