UK energy consumption

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  • UK energy consumption
    • Physical Availability
      • Until the 1970s, the UK depended on domestic coal from Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottingham shire, South Wales and north-east England.
      • It was also among global leaders in nuclear technology from the 1950s-1970s.
        • Lost momentum due to North Sea discovery
      • Large reserves of oil and gas in the North Sea, whose increased use after the 1970s, altered the UK's energy mix.
    • Cost
      • North Sea reserves became a 'secure' alternative to dependency of Middle Eastern oil, after prices rose in the 1970s.
      • North Sea oil is expensive to extract, so if global prices fall it becomes less viable.
        • Fell between 1997-8 and 2014-15.
      • Stocks are declining in the North Sea, so the UK needs to import more.
    • Technology
      • There are 150 years worth of coal reserves left in the UK,
        • Current technology and environmental policy make its extraction and use unrealistic and expensive.
        • Last deep coal mine closed in 2015, although 80% of the UK's primary energy still came from fossil fuels
      • Technology for 'clean coal' exists (which absorbs carbon dioxide) but coal lost its political support.
    • Political Consideration
      • Increasing reliance on imported energy sources affects UK's security
      • Public concern growing over proposed fracking and nuclear sites.
      • Privatisation of the UK's energy supply industry in the 1980s means oversea companies decide which sources meet demands.
        • Buy primary energy on international markets.
        • e.g France's EDF and Germany's E-on.
    • Level of economic development
      • GDP per capita (PPP) - US$41 200 (2015)
      • Energy use per capita - 2752 kg oil equivalent (2014)
      • Average annual household energy costs - £1300 (2015)
    • Environmental Prioirites
      • 2015 => committed to 40% reduction in domestic GHE by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
      • Broaden energy mix with renewable sources and more nuclear power
      • Abandoned 'Green Deal' conservation and insulation schemes in 2015.
      • In 2015, the carbon dioxide emissions were 7.13 tonnes per capita.
        • Down from a peak of 11.5 in 1980.


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