New UK Energy Minister and the Continuing Decline in Energy Production

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published their quarterly Energy Trends document last week. It covers up to the first quarter 2010. The key points:

  • Total energy production in Q1 2010 was 6.5% lower than in the first quarter of 2009.
  • Oil production fell by 6% compared to the first quarter of 2009.
  • Natural gas production was 9% lower compared with the first quarter of 2009. The UK was a net importer of gas in the first quarter of 2010 by 155 TWh compared with 106 TWh in the first quarter of 2009.
  • Coal production was 12.5% lower than a year earlier.
  • Nuclear’s supply increased by 1% on the first quarter of 2009.
  • Wind, hydro and other renewables supplied 6.5% less electricity than in the same period last year, with hydro down 44% as a result of less rainfall.
  • Final energy consumption rose by 4% between the first quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, with rises in all sectors except transport which fell mainly due to the adverse weather conditions.
  • Gas demand was 13% higher than a year earlier.
  • Electricity consumption was 2.5% higher in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period last year.
It’s a familiar story: every year the UK’s primary energy production declines significantly. Today, primary energy production is almost half what it was at the peak just a decade ago. Has any other country, let alone major economy experienced such a speed and magnitude shift in its energy system outside wartime?

The rises in the demand data above are largely due to the colder winter and a degree of recovery from the recession. One could argue the decline in indigenous production played a role in the recession. If it did, I suggest it was a small role.

Data from DUKES 1.1-1.3.

The annual energy deficit in 2008 was 57.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe). That’s a lot of energy to import. The breakdown of this deficit in 2008 was 42% coal, 36% gas and 19% oil. Let’s just make a quick estimation on how much this is costing:

Fuel Percentage Deficit (mtoe) 2008 Cost/toe (£) Total Cost (£bn)
Coal 42% 24.15 115 2.77
Gas 36% 20.70 191 3.95
Oil 19% 10.92 287 3.14
Total 9.86

UK Energy Deficit 2008. Energy data from DUKES 1.1-1.3. Prices from QEP 3.2.1.

In 2008 the gap cost the UK approximately £10 bn. Fuel prices were a little lower in 2009 (especially coal and gas at -17% and -15% respectively) and the recession closed the gap from 57.5 to 53 mtoe. A few years ago the energy sector was a net source of income for the UK. No longer. The government deficit and the growing debt is receiving the media attention, this energy deficit, now it its fifth year remains largely ignored.

Following the May election, the UK now has a new Energy Minister:

Chris Huhne MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

On the 24 June 2010, Huhne gave a speech to the Economist UK Energy Summit, it can be watched here: VIDEO

Did he address the chart above, our energy deficit in the same way chancellor George Osborne had addressed the fiscal deficit in his emergency budget earlier in the week? Well no, not directly. Economic recovery, energy security and climate stabilisation were identified as the key challenges. He isn’t a politician to question growth but did address the type of growth. “...dependence on fossil fuel would be folly. It would make us vulnerable to oil price spikes and volatility.” He called for a decarbonised economy stimulating growth and delivering on climate change and energy security. Sounds good but surely it is having one’s cake and eating it?

After stressing the urgency and seriousness of climate change Huhne addressed energy security. “It is vital we make the most of our domestic oil and gas assets...” indicating at least 20 billion barrels oil equivalent remain in UK waters and that we must continue to invest in exploration. His first mutually exclusive objective of delivering growth through decarbonising is now joined by his second of addressing climate change whist continuing to explore for new fossil fuel resources.

£200 bn of energy investment was said to be needed over the next decade, largely to replace existing assets. On new nuclear, Huhne stressed it will go ahead, but only if it can do so with no public subsidy. In my opinion this all but rules out nuclear as there is little precedent for wholly privately funded nuclear, but we shall have to wait and see. Whatever happens, it will be late with respect to the decommissioning schedule of the existing fleet of nuclear power stations.

Efficiency was described as the fourth energy resource (relegating nuclear and renewables to 5th and 6th?)--the cheapest way of closing the energy gap between demand and supply – “the Cinderella of the energy ball”. Smart meters and grids received a nod but he focused mainly on the existing aged housing stock. “Most of the homes in use in 2050 have already been built ... we used more energy heating our homes than Sweden, where average January temperatures are 7 degrees Celsius lower than ours.” Addressing existing homes will be Huhne’s flagship programme. He’s talking about insulating millions of homes. It seems the improvements will be funded at least in part through the energy savings and recovered directly from household utility bills.

“The era of cheap energy is over. ...tomorrow’s energy bills will undoubtedly be higher”

When asked about the lights going out, he ruled out wind and nuclear coming to the rescue due to the timeframe, but he stated gas fired power stations can be built in 18 months and assured us the lights wouldn’t go out on his watch. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) was described as vital to meeting climate objectives whilst keeping the lights on.

So in summary, Huhne didn’t address the fundamental peaking of energy supplies which surely should be the key driver for national energy policy today. The inconsistencies of shooting for growth whilst reducing energy use along with addressing climate change (by which I can only assume he means reducing carbon emissions) while encouraging future exploration for oil and gas are glaring. Meinshausen et. al. showed in their Nature paper last year the world has more than enough proved fossil fuel reserves already from a climate change point of view without having to discover more. His enthusiasm for CCS is also worrisome and I would see as largely incompatible with energy peaking scenarios. His focus on energy efficiency and especially domestic energy use is positive though. However there was no mention of transport at all.

New government, new minister but we still seem little closer to recognising the challenges ahead.

Chris, thanks for this balanced view. A couple of charts and comments to throw more flesh on the debate.

First a primary energy production forecast taking us out to 2020. The implications of this "energy gap" for UK balance of trade are dire. I'd argue that this energy deficit lies at the core of current UK financial woes - discussed in the election? Of course not.

Second a slide I made outlining views on a sensible energy policy:

And third, a couple of links to my earlier posts on CCS:

UK energy policy continues to be gripped by contradictions and irrationality. With their right hand, the government is pursuing some sensible energy strategies which are undone by madcap schemes implemented by the left hand.

They could start by committing themselves 100% to energy efficiency and in so doing axe all support for biofuels, CCS and hydrogen. They then need to decide whether or not they are genuinely concerned by CO2 rising from 0.03 to 0.04%. If they are genuinely concerned then they should start to phase out fossil fuel production in the UK (and consumption) and face the economic mayhem would follow.

PS - higher rainfall for 20 years, attributed by some to "climate change" has suddenly switched off, our rivers are running dry, most likely attributable to a switch in the North Atlantic oscillation (NAO)


I'm pleased to see population control listed in your diagram. It surprises me that people remain reluctant to talk about it, even in an era when the limits to growth and degradation of the environment are becoming increasingly obvious.

Hi glp and Euan

Speaking of overpopulation I can recommend this book by Finnish radical environmentalist Pentti Linkola which was recently released in English:

"Can Life Prevail?" (also available on amazon)

'WITH THE TRAIN OF CIVILISATION hurtling at ever-increasing speed towards self-destruction, the most pressing question facing humanity in the 21st century is that of the preservation of life. Can Life Prevail?, the latest book by Finnish environmentalist Pentti Linkola, provides a radical yet firmly grounded perspective on the ecological problems threatening both the biosphere and human culture. With essays covering topics as diverse as animal rights, extinction, deforestation, terrorism and overpopulation, Can Life Prevail? for the first time makes the lucid, challenging writing of Linkola available to an English-speaking public.

'By decimating its woodlands, Finland has created the grounds for prosperity. We can now thank prosperity for bringing us – among other things – two million cars, millions of glaring, grey-black electronic entertainment boxes, and many unnecessary buildings to cover the green earth. Wealth and surplus money have led to financial gambling and rampant social injustice, whereby ‘the common people’ end up contributing to the construction of golf courses, classy hotels, and holiday resorts, while fattening Swiss bank accounts. Besides, the people of wealthy countries are the most frustrated, unemployed, unhappy, suicidal, sedentary, worthless and aimless people in history. What a miserable exchange.' - Pentti Linkola


You've obviously done a lot of work on this question, and your analysis is applicable to those of us outside the UK who will face many similar issues in the coming years, so thank you for that. I have two questions for you.

1) Is reduced consumption of energy (via curtailment) necessarily bad for the economy? It would seem to be a necessary step in decoupling prosperity from fossil fuels and maybe a good step in moving toward some type of sustainable economy - bad for BAU growth, perhaps, but maybe good in the long run, especially if it heads off an energy-related economic crash. And it could put more money directly in people's pockets and help keep people's purchasing power intact for essential goods and services if they cut back on other things and manage to find painless ways to reduce energy use, particularly for lower-income folks, no?

2) What methods of population control would you propose? I agree this is an important issue to consider, but I also feel it is important to get toward a discussion of specifics. I assume you wouldn't favor forced sterilization, forced abortions, eugenics, that sort of thing. Would you tax families that have children beyond replacement rate, or something of that nature? Other ideas? I'd be interested to get the ball rolling on ways of defusing the population bomb that are politically/morally palatable.

1) Efficiency is shown separate to conservation because I seldom hear the two discussed separately and there is grey zone between the two. Some examples, good home insulation leads to consumer using less energy, spending less money, living in same comfort - I'd say good. Pensioner switching off the heating to save money - I'd say bad - will end up in hospital. Using fuel efficient car - good for individual and economy. Car sharing, ultimately bad for economy since you need fewer cars. If folks decide to stop flying - that ultimately is bad for airlines, hotel and myriad other businesses.

I can't think of any examples of energy conservation that benefits economies directly as they operate today whilst accepting there may be longer term benefits for society from less consumption. But this is tricky to see through - our systems of health care, education and social security are all funded by conventional economic growth. Society may suffer badly when that comes to an end.

2) Items in yellow denote personal choices, so with population control I'm seeing that at present as an educational issue with choices made by individuals. I don't see OECD governments ever discussing or enforcing any form of birth controls - one reason for being very pessimistic about the future. Immigration is another controversial issue. In UK we have an aging population and an absolutely impossible pensions crisis facing us. People believe that because they worked they have a right to a pension and don't understand that it is a Ponzi scheme. UK was operating a very lax immigration policy allowing large numbers of young East Europeans in. Then during the election this was raised as a matter for concern and all parties lined up to curtail immigration without ever discussing the reasons behind it. The conversation has now moved to increasing the pensions age.

Car sharing, ultimately bad for economy since you need fewer cars.

In the short term maybe, but surely if we can rearrange things so we really do need fewer cars to meet our transportation needs that's good for the economy. We can reallocate the resources (energy, materials, skills, labour etc.) to something else, something more useful to the economy?

Chris - this is a philosophical discussion point. You have two friends who want to reduce their fuel bills. They can both:

1) buy smaller fuel efficient cars that do double the mpgs
2) decide to car share, cutting fuel bill in half

Option 1 is close to bau and I'm pretty sure will not harm the economy as we know it. The consequences of option 2 are much more difficult to work out long term, but near term you know for sure that car sales are reduced. Maybe they are both near bankruptcy, hence option 1 not an option and option 2 keeps them both in work? Of course there is option 3:

3) one buys fuel efficient car and they car share - cutting fuel consumption in 4

The main point, energy efficiency allows us to do exactly what we do now but using less energy. Energy conservation means we stop doing certain things and that likely takes money out of the economy near term. The longer term consequences are more difficult to work out.

How will tax breaks for oil and gas e&p help this problem? Wasn't this a solution in the late 1990s when oil was under $10/bbl? Now, it should also be part of the solution when demand is high and supply is low? (as oil is likely to return to 2008 levels and higher) So, even though tight supplies and high demand should significantly increase oil/gas e&p profits, this is not enough to explore and develop new resources? (if they are there) So, the economy is hurt because of high oil/gas prices and tight supplies; and you also want to cut taxes to e&p's when deficits will be rising because of the bad economy. Sounds like an idea for rioting to me.

I am not following the logic. Could you please explain.

The logic is simple. You want to maximise primary energy production and minimise consumption - to reduce the size of that energy gap. So you tax energy consumption and give tax breaks to the energy producers.

This is put in there in part because a decade ago Gordon Brown backed down on raising tax on fuel and targeted the energy producers instead - which was a dumb thing to do IMO.

The UK continental shelf tax regime is still by and large inherited form the time of plenty - big fields, "shallow" water, and needs modifying if companies are to take risks developing second tier assets in deep water on Atlantic margin. I believe this has been done leading to Total proceeding to develop the Laggan (?) gas field.

But I do agree with what you are saying. I think it is perhaps a change in the tax regime and not the overall tax take that is required - stimuli for Exploration and field development - then tax the profits. (note that tax breaks means reducing current taxes - not providing subsidies).

Eean, you said in your diagram:

Strategies to tackle energy decline:
* Tax breaks for oil & gas E&P
* Enhanced oil and gas recovery

I guess you forgot the part about "taxing energy consumption."

Shouldn't tax and tax breaks be policies that come before energy shortfalls from energy production declines in an attempt to encourage consumers to conserve and find alternatives to fossil fuels? That is, to head-off this scenario. Once the shortfalls begins, wouldn't markets themselves be more efficient in transferring the revenue of the taxes on consumption to a tax-break on E&P companies?

Strictly speaking, the way you arrest (tackle) a decline is to increase production. Efficiency/conservation help cope with such a decline, to be sure, and, in my opinion is a better strategy, but it is not "tackling" the decline.

From the look of all this data, the UK doesn't have enough time (or money) to rely on efficiency/conservation alone. Developing new energy sources would be good business for the UK, (ignoring environmental issues)and they need that right now.

Jim - Taxing energy consumption is one my central list of sensible strategies. The USA needs this more than anyone else right now.

Rather than simply "taxing energy consumption" which will hurt everyone, rich or poor, equally, why not mandate for the introduction of escalator energy tariffs, ie the more you consume, the more per unit of energy you pay. That would enable the reduction of the tariff for small consumers (those in small well insulated houses for example) while the large consumers get a great incentive to reduce their profligate use of energy.

Your plan of putting all your money into energy efficiency and ignoring Climate Change completely
is just a red carpet invitation to Big Carbon/BP, which doesn't believe in Peak Oil.
How could you justify carbon conservation unless you can prove Peak Oil?
Civilization need energy like people need blood.
The utilities will build a lot of CCGT high efficiency gas plants and ultra high efficiency coal plants on the taxpayer's dime and lowering energy costs spuring consumption.
If you embark on this course be sure to build up HM Armed Forces so you can invade some small country rich in natural gas or maybe develop a process to harvest the gas hydrates in the ocean like Japan is doing.

Perhaps your plan its to catapult the UK into an overshoot so humongous that the UK will fall back into an energy black hole as the seas rise around it.

It seems like one might suspect from what is happening that renewables really aren't working very well: too variable; too expensive up front; too many years to get all of the infrastructure in place; too much transmission change required besides the wind turbines; too many uncertainties about long term maintenance issues.

So Chris Huhne is busy looking around for what else might be available, whether or not it really does anything for climate change.

The Same politics in the US as the UK:

TOD's Peak Oil Primer, Robert Rapier, has written a blog post about politicians continuing to pay the same old "lip service" about meeting our energy challenges and the cost of energy independence in the US. He said our leaders "are selling a sacrifice-free pipe dream."

Rapier says "This time, Plan A calls for sacrifice, and our former Plan A for the past 40 years – innovating our way out of this problem – will now become our hopeful Plan B."

Rapier believes that the "U.S. can’t raise production rates much beyond current rates, and with the public souring on offshore drilling we may find it very difficult to maintain current rates. So that leaves us the option of reducing current petroleum consumption by 72% from current rates."

Rapier composed a speech he believes President Obama needs to make, which he proposes the following program: "I [meaning Obama] am announcing a program that will move the U.S. on a path to energy independence by rationing petroleum beginning in 2011. Over the next five years we will reduce the amount of petroleum that Americans can use by 17% per year. This of course means that you need to start arranging your life in such a way that a 70% reduction in your petroleum usage over 5 years is manageable."

Rapier believes this "is realistically what [he] believe[s] it would take to achieve energy independence." He said without this "the market will force those reductions anyway."

This was a very interesting read and starts with a very funny video of Jon Stewart reviewing US energy policies since Nixon: "Fool me eight times, and I am a f***ing idiot."

The Cost of Energy Independence, posted by Robert Rapier on Saturday, June 19, 2010

"the market will force those reductions anyway."


Governments seem unwilling or unprepared to plan our energy future.

That leaves the markets to make the adjustments for us.

Corporations in the energy sector might be the first to make preparations in order to safeguard their future.

Consumers will also be obliged to modify their behaviour in order to survive.
Maybe that fantastic job with the long car commute is no longer the preferred choice?

My only concern is that the downslope will be too rapid to allow companies to plan & prepare and for consumers to make the many incremental changes needed in their lifestyles.


You said, "Exactly???" Did you read the post??? I believe Rapier's proposal is for government to "ration" oil before "the market will force those reductions."

Do you want governments to plan for our future? Your statements suggest you are a "free" market advocate. You say that corporations might be the first to make preparations??? Tight supplies (because of rising consumption) and increasing prices create greater profit margins due S&D and to market inefficiencies (due to barriers to entry). Where were you in 2008? Do you think oil companies care about global peak oil? They are ran by executives who plan to retire before oil sales begin to decrease. Otherwise, they will merge and the outgoing ceo will get a multibillion $ golden parachute. The remaining ceo will have more power. Oil CEOs have never had this good. It was bad for them in the late 1990's when oil was under $10/bbl.

Since when have corporations ever planned and prepared for long-term or black swan events? Do you mean like BP planning and preparing for the potential event of an oil spill? Do you mean the deliberate underestimation of black swan risks and fraudulent transfer of those risks to third parties. (wall st) Executives know these risks. I knew the risks (at least on wall st). They are not that stupid. They just take the chance that the black swan event will not occur on their "watch" or they will parachute out into retirement with there 100s of millions that they fraudulently looted from shareholders. Stock markets are at the same level they were over a decade ago. Where do you think this money went? (stock options to ceo, then company stock dilutes, then company buy back stocks)

Risk transfer without compensation. If markets were really free, the oil e&p companies would have to pay the price of a put option to whomever they expect to clean up their spills (of course, this is before the spill not after the spill). Markets would recognize the risk because markets price risk efficiently. Investors would not invest in BP because they would know that the risk was not zero. Accounting transparency (as required by investors) would show that BP considered those risk to be zero. Therefore, they would have to buy a put option (insurance) or invest in handling the black swan, fat-tail event themselves. Investors don't require this because Wall Street and Oil E&Ps are essential implicit Government Sponsored Enterprises; in other words, too big to fail, or too big to clean up their own spills.

Instead of the government being paid for these put options (as in excise taxes or fees), the government actually pays e&p companies in subsidies to reduce it's income tax burden. And then people wonder how to solve this addiction to oil. As B.T. Barnum said (in the era of libertarianism of the 19th century), "There's a sucker born every minute." And the U.S. taxpayer is the oil industry's sucker.

Free markets--give me a break. The assumptions of perfect competition, efficient markets, and incorruptible people are complete fantasies created in the minds of freshwater economists. And teabaggers talk about believing the academic elites. Libertarianism and socialism both require idealistic worlds. Both are made for saints, which there are few. Regulated capitalism is made for sinners, which there are many.

Why do large corporations have the rights of individuals, but none of the limitations. As an individual I have to obey speed limits. There are laws against loitering, littering, and disturbing the peace, but large corporations (according to "free" market theory) should obey no laws. Market forces are their only constraints. It doesn't matter if a corporation violates the rights of individuals. And the teabaggers, who champion the rights of individuals, actually buy this libertarian propaganda.

I don't believe in rationing oil, but I do believe in laws to protect individuals from corporations. They say, well, they employ individuals. More regulations mean more jobs. Well, individuals buy their products (or they buy products from companies that buy their products--it all comes back to consumer demand).

I am for taxing negative externalities. A carbon tax can be consider as such. A carbon tax is also a consumption tax. Don't libertarians favor consumption taxes over income taxes? Funny how they don't favor carbon taxes. Oh yeah, even though it's a Republican idea, it is now supported by Obama.

Whoa ... that's a heavy duty post!

I'm not advocating anything ... just being pragmatic.

Forget communism, capitalism or any other -ism ... when oil becomes expensive society will have to adapt.

Corporations and individuals are likely to adapt better and faster than our useless governments.

Sure, there will be profiteers ... but they are there already anyway.

As for rationing, that's a war footing approach .. can't see that happening any time soon.

We'll muddle along and will adjust incrementally as fuel etc become more expensive year on year.

Okay, peace man, just got on a roll. I don't believe that either corporations or governments (both made of individuals with the same human "flaws") are better than one another at adapting. A lot of major moves (i.e. adaptations) have quickly been made by governments in the last decade. Some might agree with the policies while others disagree. The policies definitely get watered down as a result of "compromise", but that can also be considered a break. If Dick Cheney & Co was unfettered we would be in both Iran and North Korea--the draft would be back.

I hope your incremental theory is correct. Demand and supply shocks seem more likely to me, whether manipulated or market driven.

Corporations are more adaptable than governments because corporations grow at different rates, new corporations are formed, and existing corporations go out of business.

Governments, alas, rarely go out of business, and then only messily. Reform and/or revolution are far more difficult than bankruptcy or administration.

Excellent point, Merrill. Your are correct. It's just too bad the large corporations are very effective at squashing innovation from new corporations. It seems like large corporations also rarely go out of business. Especially when they get too large to fail. If they disappear, it's because they merged with another corporation to create even more power.

Please note, I am not trying to refute what you said. Just passing on an additional observation. I learned long ago not to invest in small research based companies (the ones that have actually raised financing through an IPO). Most of these fail. Then the large corporations get their technology by reverse-engineering or buying it directly for pennies on the dollar. I think this will happen (and is happening) to most of the small innovative energy companies that are creating better technologies in energy storage, transmission, and alternatives. GE will such up a lot of this technology. And its unfortunate that patents don't protect the small companies too well.

Bringing back the draft would be a good thing. Then the politicain's, and the wealthy people's children might have to serve. Then, mass anti-war protests would really break out and we might end these resource wars and learn how to conserve energy at home.
Read Andrew Bacevich's book "The Limits of Power" or check out his interview with Bill Moyers.

In the US, the elite have been buying their way out of "duty" since at least the Civil War. In the Civil War you could actually do it legally. Strings are always pulled for them to stay out of combat (National Guard and transfers).

Why do large corporations have the rights of individuals, but none of the limitations... It doesn't matter if a corporation violates the rights of individuals.

If a corporation were an individual, it would be classed as a psychopath.

There are many psychology that claim this is true of corporate executives and surgeons. Sometime referred to the "God Complex" or in clinical terms, Narcissistic personality disorder.

Perhaps what shy, retiring, timid, even stupid types perceive to be a "God Complex" is a vital necessity now and then. If something goes slightly wrong while I'm the one under the knife, as may conceivably happen even under the best of circumstances, then while I don't need an ill-conceived snap decision on the part of the surgeon, the very last thing I do need is to have the surgeon dither endlessly in the name of identifying the best of all possible "solutions" in the best of all possible worlds while in the meantime I bleed out.

Thus the last person I need for a surgeon is an empty-headed starry-eyed idealist (or simply an intellectual sloth) who might waft away at any moment into Utopian dreams rather than deign to do what needs to be done right here and now on Earth. Truly, fatuous logorrheic idealists are a dime a dozen, with the historical record they have amassed when in power being often horrific. Quite the quandary inasmuch as wishful thinking would very much desire that it should have worked out otherwise.

Governments seem unwilling or unprepared to plan our energy future.

It's the "Turkeys voting for Thanksgiving Day" effect.

A democracy cannot easily take unpopular decisions and survive, only Nature or a dictatorship can do that, and Nature does it without conscience.

great line about nature and dictators. Is that a quote or did you make that up? Some would say that nature does it with a conscience, dictators do not. (not me, but ID believers)

Thanks, I made it up...

My line states that nature has no conscience, but implies that dictators may or may not have one. They could also be victims of their own impulses, but Nature just 'is'.

It doesn't blink at wiping out 250,000 people with a tsunami or earthquake or even half a planet in an asteroid collision, and it also hasn't (yet) prevented us from curing diseases, inventing social security and exhausting our little blue petri dish on our way to extinction.

Sorry, but ID is invented by people too unintelligent and ignorant to appreciate the beauty and complexity of Nature from first principles, and are pathologically compelled to infect other sheep with their ignorance. Half of their brains are devoted purely to ignoring reality!

I couldn't agree with you more. I am actually quite optimistic about our energy future, but only because I believe decline in energy supply will occur slowly and we will adapt to it by reducing consumption gradually and out of necessity. We may find that our old "consumer" lifestyle wasn't making us happy after all, and a lower-energy lifestyle may turn out to be quite suitable. Our forced reduction in energy use is likely to happen incrementally, not as a radical departure from our current habits. I have started riding my bike to work, but only on fair weather days. I drive my car on the rainy days but I've still reduced my consumption of petroleum by a few percentage points already, I'm sure. I've given up trying to shop for a more fuel-efficient car and have focused on using my existing automobile as little as possible. Am I miserable? No, actually I am now physically healthier at the age of 50 than I was ten years ago and my mental health has improved as well. I do not feel that I have been victimized by malevolent forces, as many seem to feel, I just feel that the natural world is something I need to adapt to because it is, after all, unstoppable and has, as you pointed out, neither a conscience nor any vested interest in preserving the human race. By the way, do you have those stupid "I.D." people in the UK, too? I thought it was a uniquely American strain of ignorance....

Our energy future will happen, that is for sure, and humanity will be forced to make progressively more difficult choices.
Perhaps large areas of the planet would become uninhabitable, due to environmental depletion of resources and climate change and cause mass migrations and competition for land/housing/resources on already stressed areas.
A consumer lifestyle brings 'fixes', not happiness - and I'm speaking as someone who had a $150k+ income and lost everything through divorce and ended up homeless in a foreign country for 3 years.
I found inner strengh and my friends kept me alive. Once you find out how deep the rabbit hole goes, and survive, there is little else to fear.

I have a lower energy lifestyle now - a jeep for general pottering around/monthly shopping run, and sometimes to have fun offroading.

However, as an IT consultant and web provider, I run four quad servers 24h from home but this is offset by having no need to commute. I can live quite happily on about $1000 a month all in. I have a mountain bike and lots of places to use it around Budapest. I'm 47 btw. Here's to our next 150+ years!

I'm not miserable either, but just feeling a bit unfulfilled and looking again for my calling and do something worthy - always a little further to go, more to learn, more to achieve.

I think there are some ID people in the UK too, maybe they thought it was fashionable or a cop-out? I mean, why waste time studying physics, geology and biology when you can invent your own? If people get a real education then this defective meme should die out. I guess the same goes for probiotic oil believers too! :-)

It seems the improvements will be funded at least in part through the energy savings and recovered directly from household utility bills.

Government: "We are going to improve the energy efficiency of your houses."

Householder: "Err, OK, I guess it will save me money in the long run."

Government: "But we are going to recoup the cost by increasing your gas and electricity bills."

Householder: "So I get all the upset, but you put my bills up so I don't see any benefit?"

Government: "Yes !"

Householder: "Get ******!"

You do have to wonder if John Cleese isn't in charge of the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Several points here...

1. Insulated houses are more comfortable than uninsulated ones. I've had plenty of experience of living in cold draughty ones and I'm very glad that I've insulated my London flat (built 1897).

2. Any insulation policy needs to insulate both the homes of the poor and the rich. The poor can't afford to heat their homes properly at the moment, so the benefits of insulation tend to be taken in better comfort rather than reduced energy use. The rich can afford to heat their homes, so the benefits should appear as reduced energy demand. They should be the prime policy target.

3. Insulating houses reduces the peak winter demand for both gas and electricity. This is when the marginal price of gas is highest and the Russians are at their most uppity. It would help reduce the need for winter gas storage.

4. Sadly, although the UK Building Regulations are currently quite good on insulation, particularly for refurbishment, they are simply not put into practice or enforced. The building industry is woefully ignorant about insulation. The regulations are supposed to be enforced by the Building Control departments of local councils, but they aren't very insistent and credit crunch budget cuts may mean fewer 'energy police' to insist that things are done properly.

If you think the UK building industry is bad, try Australia. Its frankly incredible what they get away with for a "5 Star" house - foil bubble wrap as insulation, no double glazing, loads of heat bridges. I've seen better egg cartons.

This is something I've worked in, and frankly the idea of dumping it on fuel prices is a total non-starter. Better to have real requirements on sale/purchase - but that would hit the housing market.

The main reason for doing this is for tenents and short term property owners. Landlords will do nothing more than they have to because they don't see any benefit for the investment, tenents can't / won't spend the money on someone else's property, those expecting to own a house for a short time won't do it because the payback is too long.

To make this sort of scheme work the increase in fuel cost should be set low enough that the bills decline due to the increased efficiency despite the cost rise. In pure economic terms the insulation was not worth doing anyway if this is not the case however it is paid for. People taking the extra comfort option will this way have to pay for it.

On the other hand £45bn went to bail out one bank, Northern Rock. If that money instead went to improve the energy efficiency of each and every housing unit, we could afford to spend £2000 on each house.

£2000 would go a long way.

But of course, allowing Northern Rock to continue to pay bonus to its financial wizards that had made such a hole was much more important.

With £2000 and buying in bulk you could probably halve the energy requirements of the UK housing sector. And no one would have to pay even more extreme fuel bills even for one year.

This is how it ends, not with a bang, but with a backhander.

The assorted UK bank bailouts would have sufficed to create a complete all-nuclear grid with enough spare electric capacity to make methanol on the kind of scale requited to replace liquid fuels..

In short, complete decarbonisation of the economy, whilst kicking the entropy problem a few thousand years into the future.

But the banks are more important, I suppose.

sorry this is where I oject - I've paid to insulate my house

not going to pay again to insulate someone elses - they can pay

poor via subsidies by local government - no that won't work - local builder will just put up the costs

so how do you do this without punishing the prudent already ?


I'm not sure if it is still policy now they are in government but the Tories had proposed that it would be voluntary - you get your house insulated paid for by your energy supplier then a per unit surcharge is added to your bill for a certain time to pay for it - if you take the comfort option and increase your overall temperature you subsidise those that go for the lowest cost. The surcharge goes with the house not the owner or the supply company. It would only work for houses with mains gas or electric heating though and you might have to apply it to both fuels in case of a change in heating method.

Governments in representative democracies freeze in the face of bad news. Elected officials get no credit for managing declines well or picking the best of the bad choices. In addition to denial and poor understanding of our energy situation, energy policy is bad because our choices aren't good. Typically, the electorate assumes that expansion and growth is an option and that managing a decline is a result of incompetent government. The public would have to be very savvy to change their mindset about growth and expansion and accept that managing decline might be the best that their society could do. A sensible policy would involve increased use of natural gas, decreased use of coal, and many of the things mentioned by Euan in his chart. Given the resource constraints and climate change, no set of choices leads to improved economic and environmental outcomes. Those choices which address both energy and climate change will not adequately address energy needs and likely result in severe disruptions. The incentives are not there for conservation as it likely results in lower GDP. We tend not to do things for which there is no positive reward until it becomes apparent to many that the unrewarded choice will help us survive negative consequences. The UK and soon enough the EU, US and other nations will feel the constraints. Which nations are best equipped to deal with bad news by making the best of bad choices?


Paragraphs and punctuation would, perhaps, do well to improve your post. I, myself, did not read it, because the massive block of text struck me as a rant.

Lately, reading TOD is akin to tying to drink from a fire hose.

That said, I am eager to learn anything that is not presented dogmatically or sloppily.

If your view has merit, it deserves the time to present it properly and I encourage you to take the time to do that.

I look forward to your next coherent post.

Apart from the lack of formatting, it is calm, rational and accurate post.

You may not have had time to read it, but you had time to complain unfairly about it.

I am very happy that the approval ratings for the Swedish right wing government went up during the financial crisis. The winning political message was "this is realy bad and we are taking it seriously since it can become even worse" and then were infrastructure investments and social security priortized, the large automakers were denied easy bailouts but the auto industry got support to not loose the technoogy base and the one bank that failed got its function and customers saved by the government and the owners who had taken to large risks were wiped out and this led to all the other banks finding other solutions then government money.

All of this were made easier by the large budget surpluses that had been used to amortaize the government debt and lower taxes in ways that gave more low- and middle class jobs.

And I am even more happy that it seems like our public will approve this in the elections. This gives me hope for the post peak oil era.

Those damn Swedes - always the smartest kid in the class!
I absolutely agree with your approach, especially in regard to saving the function and customers of the bank, but not the bank itself.
here in Canada we got see an auto bailout that cost $1.5m for each job saved - what an awful investment!

Best hopes for our governments learning from the Swedes!

-On new nuclear, Huhne stressed it will go ahead, but only if it can do so with no public subsidy.-

Why? we pretty much subsidised every other form of power generation.

i find interesting that while "renewables" get huge subsidies, nuclear must work without them. however i think nuclear can sustain itself, from the economic standpoint.

what i find incredible is that government think they can solve the energy deficit by mandating efficiency. reminds me the italian government, that spend money it will get fighting tax evasion. it is just a pie-in-the-sky idea. money from tax evasion is very hard to collect, and efficiency cannot be mandated (and should not be sunsidized either) and anyway will not bring enough savings to close the energy gap.

unless efficiency is a different way of spelling rationing. which will send very quickly any nation into economic disaster.

Everybody wants to find a new way forward, but at low or no cost. We already subsidize our energy usage by not cleaning up the trash, poison, and filth that’s left behind (Google mercury in whales, or plastics in the Pacific, and you’ll se the effects of the industrial revolution on the greater environment).

That said, we currently have options for moving forward, at a great cost, or continuing to shit in our own drinking water, because we don’t want to bear the cost of hygiene.

In the period of roughly 100 years, we have retooled our entire global culture to support the consumption of fossil fuels. We have forgotten the vast history of humanity that came before the culture shift. Oil is all we know, and like religion, we can’t look past it, because to do so would be to place ourself outside our social structure, and we are, above all else, social animals.

We’d rather die than have daddy take the T-bird away.

"we have retooled our entire global culture to support the consumption of fossil fuels"

Another way to look at it is that oil, and before that coal, has provided the energy to fuel rapid technological growth, growth of cities, intercontinental transportation, communication and globalization of civilization. Our addiction to oil is not just for pleasure, it is means by which the modern world has been built. This is really not about people learning to conserve. I think the choice is far more stark then "reduce oil use by 70%." Really what people here seem to be demending is nothing less then the turning back of civilization. I don't have a crystal ball but I'd bet you are right about your conclusions. We will continue to foul the earth to support technological growth. I expect we'll learn to love the atom. Will civilization survive? Don't know, but I doubt very much we're all gonna turn into nature lovers in the next few hundred years.

If we can't insulate the UK housing stock to PassivHaus standard, we are going to need some source of heat to keep warm. As UK natural gas supply is already in decline, with Norway set to follow in the 2015 - 2020 time frame and with a huge question mark over Russia's ability to increase natural gas exports, we are likely to be increasingly reliant upon imported LNG.

One alternative to heating by burning natural gas is to use heat pumps. In fact, burning natural gas to produce electricity and then using that electricity to power a heat pump to provide domestic heating and hot water is a much more efficient approach to the problem as David MacKay has pointed out in his book Sustainable Energy - without the hot air.

Most of the heat pumps available in the UK are not matched to the legacy heating infrastructure (radiators supplied by water at high temperatures).

There is one exception to this and that is Sanyo's Eco Cute air source heat pump. The Japanese have developed heat pumps that use CO2 as a refrigerant in a program they call Eco Cute. There are loads of Eco Cute heat pumps in Japan, but only one model available in the UK at present.

Here's a link to a video of the Sanyo Eco Cute air source heat pump installed in central Scotland. This machine has a seasonal coefficient of performance of 3, which means that, averaged over a year, 1kW of electrical power will provide 3 kW of heat, the remaining 2 kW coming from the air. The unit acts as a heat pump even at air temperatures down to -25 degrees centigrade, and provides hot water to radiators at temperatures of around 60 degrees centigrade - matching our typical legacy heating infrastructure (radiators running hot). The advantage of such a heat pump is that 3 kW of heat are produced using only 1 kW of electrical power greatly reducing primary energy demand.

Of course, many people use natural gas for cooking on a hob in the UK, here's an efficient alternative.

This all supposes we can supply the electrical power required. In Scotland, the outlook is promising as we have a relatively small population (5 million) and over 3.5 GW of rapidly growing installed renewable electricity capacity together with 25% of the European wind resource and 25% of the European marine energy resource - which is already being tapped. In the UK as a whole, the challenge is somewhat greater.

What we need is for the UK Coalition Government to get its finger out and provide a sensible platform for the adoption of these units. The previous Labour Government were well on the way to this with their Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Since the election, we have had no news on the position of the new Government with regard to renewable heat or the RHI.

In addition to Sanyo's Eco Cute, which is a mighty impressive piece of technology, there's Mitsubishi's Ecodan (see: and and Daikin's Altherma (see:

I have a bottle gas cooker (an Aga) and have switched to induction as well -- vastly superior to gas and conventional electric hobs.


Can always rely on Paul from Halifax to come up with goods on heat pumps! I think the CO2 cycle Eco Cute has good potential in N. America, though it will need a better name, as it is more effective at lower outside temperatures than traditional refridgerant cycles. But really, they are all good, and all better than combustion heating, other than firewood.

I got to use an induction cooktop once, amazing stuff, and very safe, just very expensive. They are coming down in price, but painfully slowly. If I had kids I doubt I would opt for anything else

I considered a heat-pump, but here, Belgium, electricity costs 6,7cents/kWh and gas only 2,8cents/kWh. An Overall COP of 3 and an investment of 10000€ gives no profit at all. Even subsidized. I pay no more than 1000€/yr for heating.

Solar-panels, same calculation. I use 2800kWh of electricity. That is LESS than 200€. Not any possibility of making an investment that really gives return.

All the other costs are for being on the grid and transportation. As long as these grids exist, everyone on them will pay, even if you use only one single kWh or even nothing, and just use the grid for buffering your own production.

So I believe this is why nothing really changes: Energy is still too cheap.

Just calculate the electric losses in your house. Standby-stuff and unneeded stuff like energy-saving bulbs that shine all day because we heard they live longer if not too frequently turned on-off. I suppose at least 100Watt continuously, if I don't forget to turnoff my laptops at night because of "updates". 100 Watt is about the muscle-power of a man working normal to intense physical labour. Per day, I would have to pay three of them for 8 hours?
I cannot afford paying three men working for me, just for powergeneration to waste, but i hardly feel the cost of that lost electricity.

200yrs ago allmost all the power came from muscles and burning muscle-harvested wood and muscle-dug coal.
Most of the people don't have any idea of how much we are wasting.

With the embedded energy in one single 0,5litre PET-bottle (bottled water) my e-bike can ride for 25kilometers i assume. How much energy is embedded in the aluminium of a cola-can? Our only problem is that the price for energy is much too low so our common sense is mislead in making the right choices.

And why is energy so cheap? Maybe because oil was even free at the beginning. It just came out of the ground in the desert, so some smart people invented applications to make us want to use as much as possible of it. With the total amount of applications, we rebuilt a whole society.
We were warned about this: old writings mentioning the dark forces from below will be released and will destroy mankind. Some believed this was religious nonsense. For me, it was not.

Britain has a population of ? 62 million according to Google. Were/are imperialists of the first order. As warlike as the best of them. And known for their fine steel and tools, among many many other things. In short, I don't believe they are a nation of slackers waiting for the dole or retirement. They have a lot of 'right stuff', just as others have.

I keep reading this either/or will do it or Govt. needs to get off their butt and do the needed deeds. I know a lot of people who work for Govt. and they are very good and committed staff and do the best that they can. I am concerned that this constant attack on inefficient Govt. plays into the hands of the freebooters who want to take more, including control of all direction, and the funds/power to make it happen.

To a certain extent this has been accomplished with influence and funding if not outright Bilderberg? meddling. In America you can look at the new campaign contribution laws. I suppose in Britain it is the glass ceiling of accent and class. There are 'teams' in every structure (including business) and if you have to wonder how to get on the team, rest assured you will never find the right door, school, or influential friends. Ask Mr. Ripley.

What is lacking is leadership. Leaders can, (and often do), lead from within and from behind. Pounding this oil drum is a form of leadership. Helping others understand what is going on is leadership. Some, like Stoneleigh and our editors/posters are a little more front and centre than most of us. However, you never know what and who will light the spark of consciousness and change.

Martin Luther King was shot, maybe by more than one, but he forever changed our beliefs of race. In all liklihood he contributed more to the world than succeeding Presidents. This is just one example.

Will it be someone involved with the GOM disaster? I think of the pictures of the young lady at the Kent State National Guard shooting fiasco, or the immolated monk in Vietnam. Those were turning points....steered by a photograper....probably working in a funk of " what the hell is going on here, but I must snap this picture". John Steinbecks 'Grapes of wrath', put lie to the Californian slander of 'Okies', and allowed us to see the tragedy of the dustbowl. The examples go on forever.

In todays decline of reading and study, I believe it could be a filmmaker. Not a Michael Moore presentation, although if he changed formats he has the heart, but someone will lead with words, deeds, pictures..... and perhaps we will recognize that it was the turning point of consciousness.

It won't be 'institutions', or 'leaders' per se, it will be us. I believe it can happen, even in these dark days of probable decline and upheaval.

Don't discount the Brits just yet. We have many recolections of the faces turned skyward after the London bombings, day after day. I didn't see it by my father-inlaw did and came from that. It is more complicated than this posting, so no need to jump on me, but history provides too many examples of the indomitable human spirit.


What's the situation with coal? Why is Great
Britain importing a massive amount--I thought it
was one of the oldest coal mining countries.

One of the oldest yes, with a peak reached in 1913. Today's production is less than one tenth of that peak:

UK Coal Production

Hi pasttense,

Welbeck Colliery stopped production in May. That leaves the UK with five active underground faces. The National Coal Board history indicates that there were five hundred as recently as 1980.


Hi Dave, we have resorted to ripping the surface of our small island to pieces - I will show you in September.

The UK coal production profile is one of the most telling. Our coal is sulphur rich - responsible for the death of many Norwegian trout and salmon.

UK coal production has stabalised at 18 million T per annum the last couple of years. We may see another little bump, but it looks like game over to me.


If you are going to show Dave R the impacts of surface mining, take him by places such as Acorn Bank (near Ashington) where you can't tell there was ever a coal mine - as is true over most of the UK now that the pit heaps have all been pulled down and used for road fill.

There are large coal resources still available, but as you note, it is still cheaper to import than to mine domestically. That will likely remain true for decades, but the coal itself won't go away. And it is still, from your numbers, the cheapest fuel in terms of immediate money. (Which has driven its use since Edward Longshanks).

Hi Heading Out, Euan,

I agree with Euan's evaluation of the prospects for future British coal production. Looking at the information on the seams available to the five collieries that still have active faces, I would bet that none of the five would still be producing in twenty years.

I had a thought on Heading Out's comment that there are still large coal resources available in the UK. In 2009, there was more Russian coal burned in the UK than British coal. Most of the cost for Russian coal is the shipping down the now-electrified Trans-Siberian railroad. The question is whether there is a reasonable expectation that British coal will ever be competitive with Russian coal. The Russians are just getting started in Siberia. Gunter Fettweis indicated that in the German-speaking world, there was a minerals category that he translated as occurrences (Vorkommen in German). He used this word to make a distinction from the economically interesting deposits. I think it might be more appropriate at this stage to label most of the British coal as occurrences rather than resources.


Did I read that you were writing a book on coal?

If so when will I be able to get a copy?


Hi BobE,

Thanks for asking. Still at the draft stage with no publisher.


British coal will be cheaper than Russian coal when Sterling has lost 90% of its value relative to the Rouble. However, we may have to go back to digging it out by hand with picks. At least it would help with the employment levels.

Hi Ralph,

I think you are reinforcing my point. I would bet on the UK.


After Peak Coal happens and cheap coal disappears everywhere, I think that the British will reopen their coal mines. I think this is much more likely than a complete switch to renewable energy.

Hi pasttense,

Not likely for an underground coal mine, unless the mine is being maintained. There is only one mine where this maintenance is being done now (Harworth), and I notice that UK Coal is talking in their annual report about the office development possibilities for the site. I would give slim odds on Harworth producing another ton of coal.


Daves, I'm curently in regressive mode. The more I read here, the less I seem to understand. I'm going to do a post looking at past coal predictions in light of actual production - watch out Dave.

The open cast pit I'm thinking about is just N of Edinburgh on the banks of Loch Leven - where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned. I know that in recent years there has been a lot of surface mining activity in UK - but there are very few surface opportunities, I think soon they will all be gone.

Maybe Dave can tell us how much of current UK production comes from surface and how much comes from deep. Once the surface mines are emptied then I think UK production will start to fall again.

The cost arguments are key - the difference between resources and reserves.

Hi Euan,

The surface share for Q1 2010, with Wellbeck Colliery still in production, was 67%. My earlier references were to the five undergound mines with operating long-wall faces, because most of the UK's resources/occurrences are not accessible by surface mining. In recent years, the collieries operating long-wall faces have produced 98% of the underground coal.

Three of these five collieries are owned by UK Coal (Daw Mill, Kellingley, and Thoresby), and here there are also short-term financial challenges. From the annual reports, it appears that the underground mining division of UK Coal has lost money nine years in a row, in a decade of generally rising coal prices. The investors have realised that something is wrong, and the stock has fallen 93% in the last two years.


Dave, pity Heading Out is occupied else where, but I can really see UK coal mining comming to an end. I don't know what the reserves are in the open cast pits, but from what I know, most are pretty small, especially when compared to the likes of Australia, and it only takes a few years to dig it out.

Here's a thought for you. I found an article on Chinese coal - and as you say its all over the map. Many coal mines are run by villages. Do you think having this widely disperssed energy source has underpinned growth in Chinese population over the years?

Hi Euan,

I do not have an up-to-date reference on Chinese coal. I have been using Elspeth's Thomson's book, which I like, but it only covers production through 1999. At that time, the national mines produced about 50%, mines at the province, prefecture, and county level about 20%, and non-state mines about 30%.


As far as the 'why' is concerned, my understanding is that it was because British coal couldn't compete with imports - it was too expensive to mine, given that foreign countries could produce coal using cheaper labour and with less stringent regulations. Also we in the UK had already extracted the more easily accessible and lower sulphur (i.e. higher quality) coal, which again made us uncompetitive with imports.

surprised that energy consumption grew by so much or even at all..!

UK currently gets 35% of its electricity from coal
mostly imported from RSA and Australia, only 30% is domestically mined(16.5 million tons per year).
The UK gets 42% of its electricity from natural gas mainly CCGT.

As the US example shows importing cheap energy beats
developing home supplies of coal which would be intrusive in such an overcrowded country.

The UK has moved away from coal for a long time for environmental and political(Thatcher) reasons but it has less to do with exhaustion of the mines than
the fact that from 1996 to 2004 the UK was a gas exporter(30% from Qatar and Algeria).
The UK powers-that-be no doubt have simply given up on
the idea of domestic production of energy once the North Sea bonanza is over.
It is also probable that there is a bias in favor of lower CO2 emitting natural gas over coal, which goes away with CCS.

The UKCoal has reserves of 100 million tons. EIA 2005 gives 171 million tons for the UK.

The UK will need to develop the means to exploit the vast North Sea sea coal deposits(UCG) but coal could just as easily be shipped from the USA, RSA or Australia rather than pricey LNG.

Compare the UK to Denmark where gas gets also exported, there coal produces 50% of electricity.

The decline of UK coal is largely due to reasons other than the mines being exhausted. It is a matter of policy.

Hi Majorian,

Actually, ccording to DECC, for 2009 UK steam coal imports, Russia was 48%, Columbia 14%, USA and RSA 8%, Australia 1%.


Hi DaveR,

I used EIA May 2006 UK country report who used DTI.

According to DTI, the UK now imports more coal than it produces domestically, with South Africa and Australian representing the principle source of these imports.

Weird how different your figures are, ain't it.

Strange how the UK imports about 20% of Russian coal exports according to DECC?

Just shows how there's a lot more coal about than you think?

Rather than predict Peak Coal for the world or the US you'd be better off predicting it for China and India--now that would be worth seeing.

Hi Majorian,

These are DECC's figures, not mine. DTI has been dead for a while. Here is the link to the DECC 2009 numbers. It is Table 2.2 in the quarterly tables.

I do not predict production peaks for any kind of fossil fuel production, world, US, China, or India. I agree that it would be worth seeing.


Hi DaveR,
I see your source but find it hard to reconcile it with the DTI sourced statement in EIA UK report.
I was also surprised that the sources of coal shifted year to year.
Maybe I'm wrong but I think your purpose with respect to coal is to prove Jevon's conjecture that UK(and US coal too) will become too expensive to mine.
My view is that public policy trumps economics whether it be high sulfur US coal or a decisive move away from coal to natural gas in the UK.
If I'm right, CCS--air pollution controls can and will be implemented and coal will become the predominate energy source for this century without overheating the planet. Eventually it will be exhausted, but there is a lot of it about.

BTW, Russia announced in April 2010 it will auction Tuva coal deposits the amounting to 20 billion tons of high rank coal most probably destined for China which eats 3 billion tons per year but only has 115 billion tons domestically.

The DTI figure is simply obsolete. I guess things changed in three years. It's easy to see how sources of imports can changed dramatically over those time scales.

The Department of Trade and Industry was broken up into Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) in 2007. A year later these two were merged again to form Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). At the same time Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was formed, which gave energy (and climate) a cabinet level minister for the first time and was widely seen as a good move following the mess and uncertainly of the recent past.