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LONDON (Alliance News) – The Department for Energy & Climate Change Thursday said domestic energy production rose in 2015 for the first time in around sixteen years as output from oil, gas and renewable energy rose whilst coal output continued to fall.

The UK produced 9.5% more energy in 2015 compared to 2014, the first yearly increase reported since 1999, which allowed a reduction in the amount of energy being imported from elsewhere around the world.

The DECC also revealed that household energy bills in the UK were, on average, 3.5% less than they were in 2014, equating to around GBP46 per year, per household.

The figures will be welcomed by the North Sea oil and gas industry, which has been struggling with the issue of declining rates of production, which has been exacerbated by lower oil prices over the last two years.

Oil production in the UK was over 13% higher year-on-year in 2015 following steady declines each year since 1999, benefiting from new fields that began producing in 2014 before oil prices began to plummet in the middle of the year.

The DECC said low levels of maintenance and low oil prices were “key factors” for the rise in production during 2015.

Natural gas production experienced its largest year-on-year rise since production peaked back in 2000 after the DECC reported a 7.8% lift in 2015. That too benefited from new fields coming online in 2014 and lower levels of maintenance during 2015.

On the flip side, coal production hit a record low in 2015 as production fell 27% from the previous year as coal mines continue to close as demand for the commodity continues to dwindle.

The DECC said energy consumption in the UK was 1.9% higher in 2015, reporting rises in consumption from the domestic, transport and services sectors, but consumption from the industrial sector was down. Once adjusted for weather changes, consumption was only up 0.3% year-on-year, suggesting weather was a substantial driver in the period as it was 0.6 degrees cooler during the year.

The rise in consumption was mainly driven by the transport sector, as companies and consumers capitalised on lower petroleum prices, driven by lower oil prices.

With production and output up, the UK imported 5.4% less energy from abroad than it did in 2014 whilst the amount of energy exported out of the UK rose 8.3%. That helped the UK’s net import dependency rate down to 38.6% from 46.2% in 2014.

In terms of the types of sources used to generate electricity in 2015, the UK saw a large rise in renewable sources whilst the amount of electricity being generated using coal and gas both fell.

However, the overall amount of electricity generated in the UK in 2015 fell 0.4% to 337.7 terrawatt hours from 338.9 terrawatt hours in 2014, mainly caused by the large fall in contributions from the coal sector.

The amount of electricity being derived from low carbon sources, which includes nuclear power, reached a record high in 2015, accounting for 45.5% of all the electricity generated compared to only 37.9% in 2014.

Of all electricity generated in the year, gas accounted for 29.5% whilst coal contributed 22.6%. The amount of gas used to generate electricity fell 0.3% whilst coal was down 7.1%. Nuclear’s contribution to electricity generation rose by 2%, with 21% of all electricity being generated from the source.

Electricity generated from renewable sources rose 29% in 2015 to 83.3 terrawatt hours from 64.7 terrawatt hours. Contributions from bioenergy increased 28% whilst wind generation rose 27%.

Overall, renewable energy generated almost a quarter of all electricity produced in the UK in 2015, and renewable energy capacity was also considerably higher at 30.0 gigawatts at the end of 2015 compared to only 5.4 gigawatts at the end of 2014.

Average annual household energy bills in the UK amounted to GBP1,298 in 2015, 3.5% lower than the year before, representing a GBP46 annual saving for each household. Electricity bills were, on average, GBP8 lower year-on-year whilst gas bills were down GBP38.

That average bill is based on a fixed consumption of 3,800 kilowatt hours per year for electricity and 15,000 kilowatt hours per year of gas, and takes into account all payment types.

By Joshua Warner;; @JoshAlliance

Copyright 2016 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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