Recent official statistics show that the UK is actually moving into a low-carbon, energy-efficient economy, although the speed of progress may be considerably less than green campaigners would wish for.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change's provisional monthly energy statistics for the first quarter of 2014 found that, compared with the same period in 2013:
- The overall energy consumption of the UK dropped by a massive 10.7%. However, when adjusting for temperature - the most significant variable, especially over the cold winter months - this fall was a less-dramatic 1.8%.
- Coal production fell by 28% on a year-by-year basis, and in January 2014 was at a record low level.
- Gas production fell by 0.2%.
- However, these falls were somewhat offset by the 3.8% rise in natural gas liquid and petroleum production.
- Onshore wind energy production increased by 58%, with offshore wind production seeing a 30% annual rise.
- Hydroelectricity generation levels doubled, with major producers' use of hydro and wind generation increasing by 55%.
- As the Drax power station began to co-fire biomass in recent years, the level of bioenergy generation rose by 11.1%.
Provisional estimates for the sources of electricity used by major energy producers are as follows:
- Coal provided a total of 41.6% of electricity
- Gas took a 23.2% share
- Nuclear took a further 19.2% share
- The share of electricity generation low-carbon sources were responsible saw increased by 6%, to reach 35.35, with rising levels of nuclear and renewable generation responsible for this growth.