Where does the UK get its energy from?

Posted in: Energy

Posted on: 07.12.2015

For the most up to date stats and figures, please see our latest post

In recent years, the UK has witnessed the start of a revolution. Year-on-year for more than a decade, a growing proportion of our electricity has come from renewable sources.

It’s amazing to think that five years ago less than 7% came from renewables, and this year the UK marked a significant milestone for its energy mix.

More electricity has been generated from home-grown renewable sources than ever before: in the most recent quarter of 2015 one in four units of power in the grid came from the sun, wind and other natural sources. That’s 25%!

But while that’s a sustainable success story, our research shows that in 2014, the UK continued to import over 60% of the fuel it needed to generate electricity – despite having some of the world’s best natural resources – often from volatile places around the globe.

Where does the UK's energy come from?

In total, more than 20 other countries are providing us with the power we need to keep the lights on – with fuel travelling an average of 2,650 miles to get here.

We’re buying coal from Russia, shipping in uranium from Kazakhstan and piping in gas from Norway.

Our dependency on just a few countries is on the up, with our fuel requirements for over 55% of our electricity coming from just eight countries. Eight!

We’re always going to need electricity. But do we need to endanger our energy security by relying on burning imported fossil fuels which damage our climate? Our research shows that most people don't think we do. 

The growth and popularity of renewables

Despite still being heavily reliant on foreign fossil fuels, the proportion of domestically sourced fuel used in electricity production is increasing – largely thanks to the growth of renewables in the UK.

In the second quarter of 2015, renewables were responsible for over a quarter of the UK’s electricity generation, and capacity itself has trebled in the last five years. During one afternoon in July, renewables were generating enough to power 99% of UK homes.

We’ve also seen an explosion of individuals taking power into their own hands, and their homes – with more than 750,000 individuals across the UK generating their own power.

While we’ve seen year-on-year successes in the amount of homegrown renewable electricity produced in the UK – continued success is under threat.

Our role at the Paris Climate Talks

At the Paris Climate Talks, we’d like to see the UK demonstrating continued success in renewable, home-grown and distributed sources of electricity generation.

While onshore wind and solar were on track to be the cheapest sources of UK power with the potential to be subsidy-free by 2020, recent policy announcements could affect our status at the talks as a centre for innovation, emission reduction and self-reliance.

We feel that to keep up with countries like the United States and China, we must modernise the grid and support renewable technology which is low carbon, low cost and highly popular with the British public.

It is increasingly up to innovators, leaders and individuals in the market to support consumer demand and continue to find ways to decarbonise our power requirements and increase the UK’s energy security. 


Good Energy always has believed that the UK can be powered purely by renewables – and, with your help – we’re working towards that. 

Switch today to Good Energy and support 100% renewable British electricity. 

You might also like

Ready to switch?