Installing a single low-energy LED bulb may make a trivial contribution to cutting the carbon emissions that are over-heating the planet. But if millions choose LEDs, then with a twist of the collective wrist, their efforts will have made a significant dent in the UK’s energy demand. Studies show trying to make products more efficient has cut CO2 emissions more than renewable energy has. The difference is that glamorous renewables grab the headlines. The “Cinderella” field of energy efficiency, however, is often ignored or derided. The new analysis of government figures comes from the environmental analysis website Carbon Brief. Its author says EU product standards on light bulbs, fridges, vacuum cleaners and other appliances have played a substantial part in reducing energy demand. Provisional calculations show that electricity generation in the UK peaked around 2005. But generation per person is now back down to the level of the 1984 (around 5 megawatt hours per capita). Simon Evans from Carbon Brief told BBC News: “Although the picture is complex it’s clear that energy efficiency has played a huge role in help the UK to decarbonise – and I don’t think it’s got the recognition it should have. “Say you change from a B or C-rated fridge to an A++ rated fridge. That can halve your energy use from the appliance, so it’s pretty significant.”
BBC 3rd Jan 2019 read more »
The output of British power stations fell this year to levels last seen almost a quarter of a century ago, while renewables achieved a record share of the UK electricity supply. Electricity generation in 2018 was the lowest since 1994, when Tony Blair became the leader of the Labour party. The reduced need for power came despite there being 8 million more people living in the UK. Analysts said the figures were a sign of increasingly efficient use of energy and the country’s changing economy. The UK website Carbon Brief, which analysed government and industry data, found that 335 terawatt-hours were generated by power plants last year, down by about 1% on the year before. Since 2005 the level has fallen by 16% – or the equivalent of two and a half Hinkley Point C nuclear power stations. Green energy was boosted primarily by new windfarms connecting to the grid, as well as new biomass plants, which included the conversion of a coal unit at Drax power station in north Yorkshire and the conversion of a former coal plant at Lynemouth, Northumberland. Meanwhile the coal-driven output was down 25% despite warnings of a coal comeback driven by high gas prices. Nuclear power also had a weak year, with generation down 8%, mainly due to ageing reactors being taken offline for safety checks. Gas remained the top source of electricity supplies, but fell 4%.
Guardian 3rd Jan 2019 read more »
Telegraph 3rd Jan 2019 read more »