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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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UK’s energy production falls by 14 per cent

THE UK’s energy production fell by 14 per cent last year as a result of decreased gas and oil output from the continental shelf, according to the latest figures.

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SLOWING DOWN: British gas and oil output has decreased

Despite the drop, the production of low carbon energy increased, with nuclear power output up by more than a tenth (11 per cent) and wind power from major producers rising 59 per cent due to more turbines and higher wind speeds last year.

Gas now supplies just over two fifths (41 per cent) of electricity from major power producers in the UK, down from almost half (48 per cent) in the previous year, as other sources take a bigger share of energy production.

Estimates from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) suggest nuclear now accounts for 20 per cent of UK electricity generation, with wind up from 2.4 per cent to four per cent in a year, and hydro up from 0.8 per cent to 1.5 per cent due to heavy rain in northern Scotland.

Overall, low-carbon energy sources supplied a quarter of the UK’s electricity needs in 2011, up five per cent from the previous year.

The government’s climate change advisers have said the country needs to switch virtually all its electricity generation to low-carbon sources by 2030 as part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

The figures from DECC also reveal that energy consumption in the UK last year was down seven per cent, largely due to 2011 being the second warmest year on record which reduced the need for heating.

When the warmer temperatures were taken into account energy use fell by two per cent, continuing a five-year trend.

Oil production fell 17 per cent and gas was down by a fifth, as a result of maintenance activity and slowdowns on the UK continental shelf, but gas exports were at record levels and the UK still exports significant quantities of petroleum products.

However, the UK now depends on imports for almost half (48 per cent) of its gas.

In 2011 there were large increases in imports of liquefied natural gas, with imports from Qatar matching the amount of gas piped from Norway, DECC said.

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