Gas plays an essential role in the UK's energy mix,
providing heat for homes and electricity to sockets. While that's
not likely to change in the short term, the fuel will need to be
increasingly phased out as the government seeks to
decarbonise the energy sector.
A trawl through new government
data shows how far the UK's come in recent years, and
hints at challenges to come.
The UK currently uses three trillion cubic feet of gas each
year. That demand may need to fall by as much as
20 per cent over the next two decades if the UK is going
to hit its
The Department of Energy and Climate Change's
Digest of UK Energy Statistics, released
last week, shows how much would need to change for that to
DECC's data shows gas demand has fallen 17 per cent in the last
five years. But while demand has fallen significantly from 2011's
high, its plateaued in recent years. Demand was only one per cent
lower in 2013 compared to a year before.
Gas is mainly used for two things, as the blue and purple
sections of the graph below show: generating electricity, and
heating people's homes.
DECC's data shows gas is being used
increasingly sparingly to generate electricity. The amount of gas
used in electricity generation fell by 13 per cent last year. But
that doesn't necessarily spell good news for the UK's emissions.