Direct energy

Energy consumption data was collected by fuel type - gas, electricity, petroleum, solid fuel (coal) and renewables, and by sector - domestic, industrial and commercial.

Main data sources

  • Department of Trade & Industry:
    • Digest of Energy Statistics (DTI, 2002).
    • Energy Consumption in the UK (DTI, 2003).
    • Energy Trends (DTI, 2003a).
    • Oil and Gas (DTI, 2004).
  • Office of National Statistics:
    • Regional Gross Value Added (ONS, 2003a).
    • Region in Figures: South West (ONS, 2003b).
  • AEA Technology Regional Renewable Energy Statistics (AEAT, 2003).

Data availability and quality

In general, data was of good quality. Regional data was available for all fuel types except solid fuel and petroleum. Breaking down energy use by sector was also possible.

Calculations and proxy measures used

All data was collected for the base year (2001) and converted to a standard unit of gigawatt hours (GWh). Figures were also converted to tonnes of oil equivalent and tonnes of CO2 using standard emission factors (DEFRA, 2003b).

Electricity consumption

Total electricity distributed in the South West region in 2001 was 32,710 GWh (DTI, 2003). This figure was based on Grid Supply Point (GSP) data supplied by National Grid Transco and was broken down into domestic and non-domestic electricity consumption using ratios derived from figures supplied by Western Power Distribution (Western Power, 2003).

It is likely that the DTI figure for total electricity distributed is not completely accurate, although at this stage the DTI are not able to estimate the scale of the inaccuracy. GSPs have been attributed to a Regional Development Agency (RDA) region by postcode and other locational information, but where GSPs are located near a regional boundary, they may supply electricity on both sides of the boundary. No attempt was made to adjust for this.

In addition, there will be a number of differences between figures for electricity distributed and electricity consumption for reasons such as:

  • The GSP figure does not include electricity sold directly to large generators via high voltage grids (without passing through the distribution network), or electricity consumed by the generating company.
  • There are losses between GSPs and customer meters.
  • There are losses due to theft, meter fraud and accounting differences.

No attempt has been made to adjust for these differences here.

For comparison, Western Power Distribution (WPD) also provided a figure for total electricity consumed in the South West. This was proxied up (to account for the difference between the WPD area and the regional boundaries adopted for this project (see Figure 1) which produced a figure of 26,110 GWh.

Gas consumption

Figures for domestic and non-domestic gas consumption in the South West were obtained from the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI, 2003). These figures were based on data supplied by Transco. No data was available for bottled gas consumed in the South West region.

In the UK, gas sold via the Transco network is about 70% of total gas consumption. The remaining 30% is gas supplied to power stations or large industrial consumers through the National Transmissions System or other transmission systems. For the purposes of this study, gas supplied to power stations in the South West was not included because its CO2 emissions are accounted for in the electricity consumed in the region. Data relating to gas supplied to large industrial consumers, not through the Transco network, was unavailable for the South West, due to its commercially sensitive nature.

As an additional check, a figure for South West gas consumption was calculated using 'gas consumption by postcode' data available from Transco. These two figures corresponded closely.

Solid fuel and petroleum consumption

Figures for solid fuel and petroleum consumption were not available for the South West region. As a result, UK data was obtained from Energy Consumption in the UK (DTI 2003). UK figures were scaled to South West level using GVA as a proxy factor.

It was not possible to break petroleum figures down into different fuel types, such as diesel. It is important to note that the petroleum consumption figure does not include consumption used for transport.

Renewable energy consumption

Data on energy generated from renewable sources in the South West was obtained from AEA Technology (2001), and could be further split into electricity use and use for heating (space and water).

The figure for electricity included both grid and off-grid electricity. No breakdown of this data was identified. However, it is likely that most electricity produced by renewables is grid electricity, and was 'hidden' in the overall electricity consumption figure. For this study, all electricity produced from renewables was assumed to be grid electricity. There was no adequate regional data on renewable electricity consumed for heating. It was assumed that the amount of renewable energy used to generate heat was approximately one third of that used to generate electricity. This is likely to consist of:

  • Biomass including energy crops, logs, forestry wastes, waste wood, agricultural wastes including animal slurry, poultry litter and straw.
  • Solar water heating.
  • Landfill gas/waste CHP schemes.

Domestic energy

Domestic energy consumption was broken down, by fuel type, into energy used for space and water heating, and cooking, lighting and appliances. Figures for UK consumption in these categories were obtained from the DTI's Energy Consumption in the UK: Tables (DTI, 2003). The proportions of UK consumption in each of these categories were applied to the South West figures for domestic energy consumption.

Non-domestic energy

The figure for non-domestic energy consumption was also broken down further by fuel type, and was based on South West GVA figures by sector. Ratios of the GVA for particular sectors compared with UK GVA (ONS, 2002) were applied to the figures for total non-domestic electricity consumption by fuel, for example:

South West non-domestic gas consumption = 18,061 GWh (2001)

South West GVA = £56,064m (1998)

South West GVA (Hotels & Restaurants) = £2,105m (1998)

South West Hotels & Restaurants' gas consumption = (2105/56064)*18061 = 678 GWh

Data recommendations

  • The DTI recently published regional gas and electricity figures for the first time. It would be useful if this data was extended to cover other fuels such as solid fuel and petroleum.
  • Further breakdowns of the regional consumption figures would have been useful, for example, electricity and gas figures for industrial sectors.

More data on renewables would be useful, for example information on grid and off-grid. Most renewable energy data is reported in MWh installed rather than GWh generated and consumed, but the latter is more useful for this type of analysis.