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UK Electricity Stats For 2016

April 2, 2017

By Paul Homewood


The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has just published the latest set of electricity statistics, which now updates to Dec 2016.





  • Coal, oil and gas still continue to dominate, accounting for 52% of total generation. This is unchanged from 2015. Although coal power output has more than halved to 30TWh, this has been almost entirely offset by the rise in gas power.
  • Wind output has surprisingly actually fallen by 7% from 40.3TWh to 37.5TWh. Apparently this is because it was not as windy last year! This hardly offers much reassurance for when the grid becomes increasingly reliant on wind power in years to come.
  • Solar power capacity effectively stopped expanding in Q4. Whether this reflects the withdrawal of solar subsidies earlier last year or not remains to be seen.
  • Total supply has pretty much flatlined in the last three years, rather upsetting the government’s energy efficiency objectives.





The large scale switch from coal to gas, due in part to lower gas prices, will enable the government to claim a drop in CO2 emissions.

However, there is nothing here to suggest that we are even beginning to tackle the long term challenges to UK energy policy which we face.

  1. AlecM permalink
    April 2, 2017 6:00 pm

    All with 0.1% spare capacity!

  2. A C Osborn permalink
    April 2, 2017 6:02 pm

    Maybe this will help in the future,if it comes off.

    However not in time to prevent the looming problems.

    • April 2, 2017 6:47 pm

      The country should not have to rely on private money, which will demand a large risk premium, plus healthy profits, to get its essential infrastructure built. The South Australian govt has taken the step that the UK will have to follow, it is buying its own power station (and a battery, since its a lefty govt).

      The one advantage of having a lefty govt is that it has no problem with state ownership, will the Tory UK govt be able to bite to bullet, or will it just continue to throw ever more money at those precious private investors, with highly unpredictable consequences, and therefore an unacceptable risk?

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        April 2, 2017 9:21 pm

        With constant government interference a large risk premium is the least any prudent would-be generator would want. They may want even more protection from current lunacy; have you noticed a lack of enthusiasm about building more supply?
        In any case I suggest that following the actions of the South Australian govt would be unwise. Have you heard that they rejected an offer to avoid the current mess by maintaining the coal fired station for 3 years for $8 p.a.? Their rush into ‘renewables’ gives lemmings a bad name.

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        April 2, 2017 9:26 pm

        Sorry, $8 million a year, rather than the $360 million part time white elephant (PoweEngineering thinks $530 million) and $100 million (or more) on batteries. The only practical thing they’ve done is start installing diesel generators but they aren’t featuring them in their (tax payer funded) adverts.

  3. Athelstan permalink
    April 2, 2017 6:26 pm

    I don’t know whether tis better to laugh or, just weep. I know one thing, I hate politicians with a black fury and before you say it Mike, no they are not entirely to blame but politicians in the first place and not least Maggie started the chain ‘going green’. Yes and of course we all desire cleaner air et cetera and we can have without turning the bloody lights out but what we have to do, is to end the ruinable policies and now would not be soon enough.

  4. April 2, 2017 8:07 pm

    In a few years time the 9% coal will be 0% and the 21% nuclear will be down to about 3%. So 27% of baseload capacity will need replacing. Has anybody noticed a programme to build at least 10GW of new baseload capacity?

    I notice the above pie chart does not show the imports. What will happen to that when France starts replacing its nuclear power stations with wind farms.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      April 3, 2017 6:47 am

      It worries me too, although here in France there seems to a growing movement against wind turbines. Most now have quite heated debates at the local Maire or village hall. In many fields round Department 87 there are Éolienne Stop banners. The developments go ahead none the less.

  5. April 2, 2017 9:08 pm

    Security of Supply used to the paramount issue. This was not about having spare capacity, but it was about national security, ie not being dependent on overseas ( or at least insecure overseas) suppliers of the stuff you stick in generating stations.
    You would have to discount wind and solar from that equation because they are non-firm, so you need enough other firm capacity fueled indigenously or from areas of the world that provide a high degree of reliability in the face of ‘national emergencies’.
    As the North Sea gas has declined, the UK is increasingly reliant on supplies from elsewhere, particularly the Gulf States. Perhaps new supplies from the USA will help. One of the attractions of coal generation , apart from the stuff under our feet, was the origins of supply. Generally it could be sourced from ‘reliable’ nations.
    All this seems to have been jettisoned along with every other sensible policy over the last 20 years.
    I don’t remember any legislation being passed that reduced the requirement of government to satisfy the security of supply issue. Is this a legally enforceable challenge to the inept government policies?

    • Athelstan permalink
      April 2, 2017 11:27 pm

      The green tosseratiSJWs swampy and his ‘black lives matter’ when dey is doin’ green stuff innit – outrageously argue that,, ruinables can provide ‘security of supply’ the paradox of intermittent variability of wind and sun is quite apparently lost on them but such is their sway in the corridors of power these days – MPs swallow this mulch thinking it as Gospel – even if they don’t know what a Gospel is.

      Under the all knowing, benign aegis of the EU, MPs and senior civil servants could get away with nigh on murder pushing the green agenda because if it came down to it, they always had the excuse “well Brussels told us to do this, the other and mainly – that……….”

      Now that, the UK is at long last commencing to ship out of the Brussels slaver, the buck passing will stop at the door of the likes of our gormless PM, her energy ministers and those senior panjandrums who advertized the green mythology…………Thus, its small wonder that the wailing and gnashing of teeth in the civil service is a harbinger of, the dawning of a new age of responsibility and not before time – direct accountability.

      green agenda, the NHS, we’re coming for yers.

    • April 3, 2017 6:13 am

      You can tell the Government what you think by responding to the consultation at

      The Government, in passing the buck, says;
      “During the last decade, energy policy in the UK was often discussed through the framework
      of a ‘trilemma’ – the need simultaneously to find policies that would contribute to meeting
      climate change targets, guaranteeing security of energy supply and minimising energy costs. Nearly 10 years on from the Climate Change Act, that framework requires updating.
      Security of supply is, of course, foundational – and the lack of a long-term energy strategy over previous decades saw the planned closure of energy generating capacity without its adequate replacement being secured.”

      Responding to the consultation won’t do any good of course, as the civil servants in charge will have their own agenda. You have until the 17th April to respond.

  6. Bruce of Newcastle permalink
    April 2, 2017 9:58 pm

    A really interesting question is what happens after Brexit?

    Britain gets a lot of electricity from France via the interconnectors, especially to help balance out the intermittency of the wind generation sector. Will EU vindictiveness pull the plug on the extension cord?

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      April 3, 2017 6:52 am

      I’ve asked this question before but without an answer, do WTO tariff arrangements apply to energy? If they do what would be the affect on current Interconnectors, French, Dutch and Irish and those being planned?

      The French have 6 international connections at the moment

      • bea permalink
        April 3, 2017 3:41 pm

        WTO tariff arrangements do apply:

        As far as I know, for imports into the UK:

        There is no duty on crude oil but VAT applies at standard rate.

        There is no duty on electricity supply and it is VAT exempt.

    • April 3, 2017 12:37 pm

      Doubt it.

      The spot market is independent of the EU and different nations within the EU have differing energy taxes and levies.

      We, of course, already have much higher carbon taxes, levies and renewables subsidies than the EU.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      April 3, 2017 1:02 pm

      As in everything the EU are working to share the resources around so lots of interconnection is planned and a single energy market is their dream. Well, why not – with one superstate you only need one energy market. The UK won’t be part of this unless it chooses to be. But given the way Brexit is heading, there will be a reduction in UK demand as the economy slides down.

  7. April 3, 2017 7:27 am

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  8. Malcolm Swinbanks permalink
    April 3, 2017 11:44 am

    How much of the 9% Bioenergy is derived from power stations burning wood chips shipped from America as a direct substitute for coal ?

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