Can renewable energy power the world?
Can renewable energy power the world?

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Can renewable energy power the world?

1.4.2 Energy supply and demand in the UK

In the UK, energy demand is categorised into four main sectors:

  • domestic
  • services (i.e. commercial and institutional)
  • industry
  • transport.

As Figure 5 shows, almost one third of UK primary energy is lost in the process of conversion and delivery – most of it in the form of ‘waste’ heat from power stations. And even when energy has been delivered to customers in the various sectors, it is often used very wastefully.

Figure 5 UK primary and delivered energy use in 2009 (sources: DECC, 2010a, DECC, 2010b)

If you look at Figure 6 you’ll see that the contribution of a variety of renewables in 2013 to primary energy supply in the UK was quite small, just over 5%. This can be calculated by multiplying the 11,201 thousand tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) by 42 to get Petajoules (PJ) = 470 PJ, which is 5.2% of total UK primary energy.

However the percentage contribution of renewables to UK electricity supplies in 2013 was somewhat larger, at nearly 15%, as you can see from Figure 7.

Figure 6 Primary energy contributions from renewable energy sources in the UK, 2013 (source DECC, 2014)
Figure 7 Growth in electricity generation from renewable sources in the UK 2000-2013. In 2013 renewables contributed almost 15% of UK electricity (source: DECC 2014)

The UK Government aims to increase to 15% the contribution of renewable energy to gross final consumption by 2020, in accordance with European Union agreements.

RENC_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus