The UK's energy challenge

Updated: Sep 30, 2019


How do we power our modern lives and save the planet? 


As we face an unprecedented climate crisis, there is a real need for clearer information and explanation of the facts about energy consumption and the urgency of action needed. 


In September 2019, the BBC published its Briefing on energy to explore the UK's energy challenges and it provides fascinating facts and figures. 


In response to this, here is our take on where we are now, the challenges we face, how we will meet our energy demands, and the changes we all need to be considering.


The challenges we face


Although our overall use of energy is declining, carbon fuels still provide the vast majority of our energy input at the point of use (around four-fifths).


Natural gas has become a major source of energy worldwide and in the UK is the second biggest source of energy after petrol and diesel. It’s a key source of heating and is used in industry. Our use of it has increased from zero in 1990 to 40% in 2018. Most of the natural gas we use comes from Norway and Qatar.


Transport is our most carbon dependent sector, followed by industrial and domestic heating, and we will require a shift change in the types of domestic heating systems we install in order to reduce our use of carbon fuels.


Households account for 29% of UK energy consumption, and this excludes our transport use! Overall, transport use accounts for 30% of use, with road use at 29% and rail just 1%. The question, and challenge is, can we make a massive change in our behaviour to get out of our cars to use more sustainable forms of transport?