UK Energy demand set to soar by 35%

There are a couple of factors at play here. Firstly, let’s take a look at the current UK demand for electricity, the supply, and what is driving the future demand. Lastly, can the UK energy market meet this surging demand in the next ten years. The energy consumption per head of population in the UK stands at 5,129kWh.

What is a kWh of power?

If you take a 100-watt bulb being left on for 10 hours, it uses 1kWh of energy. Different appliances use different levels of energy.

For example 1kWh of energy can power

- an Iron for 1 hour

- boil a full kettle 10 times

- keeping an electric blanket on all night

- running an electric shower for 6 minutes

- around 3 hours of TV on your plasma screen

- using a laptop (20-50w) all day

Current UK energy supply

Current electricity supply in the UK comes from several different sources, but the main ones are Gas, Nuclear, Biomass and Wind making up 82% of supply. As can be seen from the table below, in just over 20 years, the three main sources of renewable energy and now contributes 25% of the energy supply. It is astonishing to think that Coal provided 67% of the energy demand in 1990.

Future demand and what is driving this demand?

There are 2 things that will drive electricity demand in the UK in the coming years,

1.Population growth

This a major factor. The UK’s population is set to reach 70 million people by 2030 if current growth rates continue. This is due to natural birth rates and an ageing population. This increased population will put extra demand on the National Grid, which is already under pressure to meet current demand.

2. Electric Cars

The shift to Electric cars will drive huge demand for electricity, today there are 90,000 electric cars on UK roads, but that is set to reach 9 million by 2030.

Future supply of energy in the UK

1.Wind

Wind power delivers a growing fraction of the energy in the United Kingdom and at the beginning of January 2016, wind power in the United Kingdom consisted of 5,958 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of just under 12 gigawatts. Wind power is expected to continue growing in the UK for the foreseeable future, It is estimated that more than 2 GW of capacity will be added per year for the next five years. Within the UK, wind power is the second largest source of renewable energy after biomass.

2. Solar

Despite the level of positive news coverage that Solar energy gets in the UK, it still only represents 3% of the UK’s total energy needs. However, the level of installations has increased rapidly in recent years as a result of the reduction in costs of photovoltaic PV panels. MW of PV solar power, putting the UK in sixth place internationally in terms of total installed capacity.

3. Biomass

Biomass energy is still the largest renewable energy provider in the UK. Partly because a number of coal fired stations have converted fully from Coal to Wood pellets. Power stations like Drax and Lynemouth which are 100% Biomass fuelled, these power stations have the capacity to generate enough electricity to supply whole cities like Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool and at the same time reduce CO2 emissions by 80% when compared to burning coal. Government legislation continues to support biomass and more power stations are due to convert or co-fire in the coming years to meet the rising demand for energy.

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