Up in smoke: how efficiently is electricity produced in the UK?

6 July 2012 John Burn-Murdoch Huge amounts of energy are wasted every day in our gas, coal and nuclear power stations. Over half of the energy in gas and around two thirds of the energy in nuclear and coal used to produce…

6 July 2012

John Burn-Murdoch

Huge amounts of energy are wasted every day in our gas, coal and nuclear power stations.

Over half of the energy in gas and around two thirds of the energy in nuclear and coal used to produce electricity is lost as waste heat.

Information is Beautiful has created a graphic for Friends of the Earth that illustrates just how much energy is lost in production and compares it to renewables sources, which lose less than 1%.

It makes particularly interesting reading when considered alongside Good Energy’s (one of our partners on the Clean British Energy campaign) recent graphic showing where our energy comes from.

This graphic was produced using Government figures and also shows how electricity is used in the home as well as some information on how much money can be saved by taking some simple actions to reduce electricity use.

Friends of the Earth’s Clean British Energy campaign is calling for a transformation in the way Britain produces and uses energy. Their message is clear:

Burning fossil fuels is a very inefficient way to generate electricity – much of the energy contained in the fuel is lost as heat.

Renewables are much more effective at converting energy into electricity.

That’s one of the reasons why we need to shift the way we produce our electricity in the UK – away from fossil fuels and nuclear to a future of renewables.

Switching to renewable energy and cutting energy waste is our best hope of affordable fuel bills in the future.