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It’s official. Energy consumption in the UK is on the way down

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    Alan Aldridge

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    Excellent figures, good news – I would have guessed wrongly!

    The prices of goods and services are not directly related to energy consumption yet some of the Government programmes have related site or organisation specific turnover to energy consumption. In my opinion this is a false comparison.

    Example: over the last few years petrol prices have risen, say 30% over the last 5 years. A petrol station may sell the same litres, may use the same energy but with a turnover 30% up will appear more to be more energy efficient i.e. turnover/kWH.

    Whilst it is valid, within limits, to look at the national position GDP/kWH, it is NOT valid to rate individual businesses or sites on the basis of turnover. For accurate performance indicators and indeed to manage energy use, it is necessary to find appropriate activity indicators e.g. hotel: beds occupied, meals served.

    Even so, it’s a welcome if surprising result.

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      Andrew Warren

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      Alan
      Very good to hear from you, and thank you for these constructive comments.
      Andrew

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    Peter Wiltshire

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    Good news indeed Andrew….but….

    I feel that I know the reason, and this may not be quite such good news. The dramatic rise in energy prices over this period have forced some energy intensive businesses to scale back production and change their emphasis to activities with lower energy overheads. Some energy intensive industries such as steel making have virtually disappeared in the UK.

    Whilst most people know me for running a medium sized energy consultancy, working with business and industry. I also spend some time with a Community Interest Company which works with the fuel poor. In this role I meet several people who cannot afford to heat their homes at all, this is not unusual in 2014, but would have been unheard of in 2000.

    It is very good news Andrew, but there is a cost. !

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      Andrew Warren

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      Peter
      You make a very fair point about the. number of households who may be under heating as a result of higher fuel prices. – a reality I did seek to acknowledge in my article. But the official statistics do make clear that industry is most definitely becoming more and more energy efficient. It is genuinely impressive that we have enjoyed such a significant increase in GDP whilst reducing consumption so considerably. I only wish more commentators acknowledged this remarkable trend.
      Andrew Warren

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    Darryl Croft

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    @Peter

    I think you’ll find that domestic consumption has reduced as well Peter. Andrew/ACE will have the figures. So not just due to deindustrialisation.

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      Andrew Warren

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      You at absolutely right, Darryl. Would that everybody at DECC was as clear sighted.
      Andrew

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    Jean Aldous

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    Any reductions in energy use must be welcomed but we should bear in mind that these are from a very high base. Former UK energy use was described as a ‘profligate waste of energy’ by one government advisor. DECC’s ‘Energy Consumption in the UK (2013)’ shows little change since the 1970s. Although there have been improvements in energy efficiency by the motor industry over the past 40 years, this has been countered by increased use of road vehicles. There has been no change over to more efficient electric vehicles. Wealth should include quality of life and this has deteriorated for many walkers and cyclists. Over the period electricity use has increased by 65% since 1970 (see page 4). Energy use by industry has declined substantially, but we are importing many more goods so should accept some responsibility for the energy used. On the contrary, the consumption of imported goods is counted as increased wealth. A concerted effort is needed to generate more of our electricity and heat on site, using waste and hydrogen obtained at times of low demand from intermittent renewable energy.

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      Andrew Warren

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      Dear Jean
      Please don’t think I am complacent about the levels of profligacy in the UK. A quick glance at some of my other articles on this website ought to persuade you of that! But I am seeking to counter the kind of unthink to be heard all too often, when commentators assume that as a nation’s wealth increases, so automatically does its energy consumption. During the 21 st century in the UK, we are breaking this mould in a big way. And this undeniable achievement needs recording.
      Andrew Warren

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      Andrew Warren

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      Thanks for commenting so favourably upon my article on your blog
      Andrew Warren

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    John barwise

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    This is one of the best debates I’ve heard on the subject of energy consumption and long over due. Some great stats to illustrate how electricity consumption has changed – breaking the links with GDP. But there is something not quite right here. All the evidence suggests there is a link between GDP and greenhouse gas emissions. We are using more energy than before but not in the UK – much of our energy is consumed on our behalf by importers who incidentally are also belching out GHG on our behalf as well.

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      Andrew Warren

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      Thank you, John, for these kind remarks which are much appreciated. I fully acknowledge the point you raise about how carbon intensive some imports are. But this short article was seeking to emphasise the one significant point- that per capita consumption of electricity has dropped by 10% since 2000, even at a time during which the number of electricity consuming targets and computers has increased exponentially.
      Andrew Warren

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