How electricity is generated in the UK

Electricity generation in the UK comes from three main sources – gas, coal-fired power stations and nuclear.

A small but growing proportion of electricity is supplied by renewables.

  • Gas accounted of 46 % of electricity supplied in 2008. Gas is also used to heat approximately 70% of homes.
  • Coal-fired power stations provide approximately 31% of the UK’s electricity.
  • Nuclear power provides about 14%  of electricity but most UK nuclear plans are due to close in the next decade
  • Renewables sources provided 5.5% of electricity generated in 2008.

Latest figures (published 2009) show that there was a 0.4% decrease in the total supply of electricity in the UK in 2008, to 399.6 TWh. This is now the third successive year that total electricity supply has fallen.

Indigenous electricity supply fell by 1.8% but net imports of electricity more than doubled to 11 TWh caused by both higher imports and lower imports.

The largest user consumer of electricity in the UK is the domestic sector (117.8TWh), while industry consumed around 113.6TWh.

Installed electrical generating capacity of renewable sources rose by 19% in 2008. This was mainly as a result of a 49% increase in offshore wind capacity, a 38% increased in onshore wind capacity and a 4% increase in the capacity of sites fuelled by biomass and wastes.


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