UK gas demand hits five year high as coal-fired power tanks


Gas demand last year was the highest since 2011, according to latest government data. While households and businesses burnt more due to a colder winter, the power sector was the primary driver as coal economics tanked.

In all, gas demand in 2016 was up 12.6 per cent on 2015 – the highest demand figure since 2011, according to the department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The department said that was was driven by a 39 per cent rise in gas instead of coal used in electricity generation. Households also burnt a bit more, up 5.1 per cent.

A colder than usual winter meant those increases were more marked, with households in the fourth quarter burning 24 per cent more gas than the previous year, and the power sector’s consumption up 48 per cent.

The UK was also much more reliant on imported gas over winter, with net imports up 44 per cent on Q4 2015 as exports fell. A particularly cold Q4 2016 and the delayed restart of gas withdrawals from the Rough storage facility could also have affected the trade figures, said BEIS.

Of the UK’s imported gas, Norway supplied around two thirds (64%). Imports from Belgium hit a three year high. Piped Dutch gas and Qatari LNG made up the remainder.

See the data here.

Related stories:

Centrica confirms no gas injections at Rough for 2017/18

Centrica posts solid profits but Rough doubts remain

Gas and power prices hit two year highs over winter

Gazprom launches ‘more transparent’ platform for large gas users and TPIs

UK loses 11.4GW of coal and gas fired generation in three years

Click here to see if you qualify for a free subscription to the print magazine, or to renew.

Follow us at @EnergystMedia. For regular bulletins, sign up for the free newsletter.


  1. The explanation given for a 24% increase in gas consumption in buildings – a colder winter than in 2015 -is simply not credible. It really wasn’t that much colder than normal! Much more likely is the complete collapse of official programmes designed to help install energy saving measures, owing to government neglect of energy efficiency following the Coalition Government’s demise.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here