Electricity Balance 2016

Electricity from renewables accounted for 27.1% normalised (25.6% actual) of all electricity generated in 2016.

While 2016 was less windy than 2015, electricity generated from wind was still the 2nd most significant generator of electricity at 22.3% normalised (20.9% actual), ahead of coal at 16.0%. Electricity from natural gas accounted for the largest share of gross final consumption at 51.8%.

Electricity Generation 2016


Coal, peat and oil use in electricity generation are down slightly, 2.3%, 5.8% and 5.2% respectively or a total of 62 ktoe, between 2015 and 2016.  Also down was hydro (-15.6%) and wind (-6.4%), a combined fall of 47 ktoe. 

A significant change also was the switch from net import of 58 ktoe of electricity in 2015 to a net export of 61 ktoe.  To put this another way, an additional 119 ktoe of electricity was generated to compensate for this.  There was also an increase in demand of electricity of about 2.3% with added another 56 ktoe to be generated.

These falls in generation, increased demand and switch to exports were compensated for by an increase in natural gas generation which saw natural gas input to electricity generation increase by 23.3% (442 ktoe) between 2015 and 2016 with a similar percentage increase in electricity generated from gas. 

These changes in 2016 have resulted in the CO2 intensity of electricity increasing from 470 gCO2/kWh in 2015 to 488 gCO2/kWh in 2016.

The switch from net electricity imports in 2015 to net exports in 2016 is thought to be due to a number of factors.  The carbon floor price in the UK caused significant reduction in coal generation there and pushed the east west interconnector (EWIC) up the merit order on the UK electricity grid.  Other capacity constraints in the UK occurred due to damage to a sub-sea interconnector to France in late 2016 and the outages of a number of French nuclear plants for inspection reduced the availability of imports into the UK from there.


Note that the energy balance data are provisional.  Final 2016 energy balance is expected to be published in August/September 2017.

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