Final energy consumption across the UK in 2015 rose by 1.7% compared to 2014 according to latest government figures. However, industry consumption fell to its lowest level since 1970.
Final energy consumption has largely trended down over the last 40 years. However, lower mean temperatures during 2015 lay behind the anomaly, government data suggests. On a weather corrected basis, consumption increased, but only slightly (0.1%), largely driven by transport.
In the non-domestic sector, final consumption by industrial users fell by 124 ktoe (0.5 per cent) between 2014 and 2015 to 23,594, the lowest level since 1970, with the industrial sector accounting for 17% of overall UK consumption. Energy intensity fell by 1.5% year on year.
Across the industry sector as a whole, energy intensity (energy consumed per unit of output) has decreased by 38 per cent between 1990 and 2015. However, falls in output also cut consumption.
In the services sector, final energy consumption rose by 1.8% between 2014 and 2015 to 19,403 ktoe. The sector accounted for 14 per cent of total final consumption in 2015, with the commercial sector responsible for two thirds of that total.
Despite the year on year rise, consumption by the services sector peaked in 2001 and has since fallen by 13 per cent, according to BEIS figures.
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Regardless of the “temperature correction”, this is potentially a rather alarming set of figures (apart from on the industrial side) as it does appear to be a reversal of a previously consistent reduction pattern over the previous decade. It also contradicts what has been the consumption trend throughout the developed world.
I fear that the singular dearth of effective new energy efficiency public policies recently, concerning both buildings and transport, may be beginning to take its toll. The Committee on Climate Change has been warning about their concerns.
Let us hope it is just a temporary one-year blip.