United Kingdom energy mix
- Natural gas
- Natural gas
*% energy mix as of 2015
Total electricity consumption in the United Kingdom is about 323 TWh.
Pioneers of the liberalized energy market, the UK had privatized Electricity Boards (nationalized Electricity companies) by 1990, with the full deregulation of the gas markets commencing in 1996, followed by opening of the electricity markets in 1998.
Becoming one of the most advanced and innovative markets, the UK is often used a benchmark for countries in pre or post deregulation.
Transmission networks are owned and maintained in England and Wales by The National Grid and Scottish Power and SSE in Scotland. They balance the system by managing supply with demand on a minute-by-minute basis.
Distribution networks are comprised of 14 interconnected Distribution Networks Operators (DNO’s) all of whom are licensed by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem). Split geographically, they are based on the former area electricity board boundaries.
Historically the energy markets were dominated by suppliers British Gas, EDF Energy, Npower, Scottish Power and Eon, collectively known as the ‘big 6’. However their dominance is being challenged by new entrants in both domestic and business markets.
In 2015 there were 59 active suppliers across domestic and non domestic markets – 24 supplied dual fuel, 17 were gas only and 18 were electricity only.
The energy mix as of 2015 was made up of natural gas, renewables, coal, nuclear and oil (refer to pie chart).
The UK aims to meet its EU target of generating 30% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and its own pledge to phase out coal power by 2025.
Security of supply remains a hot topic. With coal fired power stations coming to the end of their life span and the unreliable British weather varying the output from wind and solar generation, the UK has continued to pursue nuclear power as seen with the recent commissioning of the Hinkley Point C power station.
The fallout from Brexit is also likely to create uncertainty within the industry until an exit strategy is confirmed.