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Electricity Generating

Volume 929: debated on Wednesday 6 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what percentage of electricity is generated in Great Britain by nuclear power stations, oil-fired power stations and coal-fired power stations, respectively; and what coal equivalent they consume for their output.

Table 9 of "Energy Trends", published monthly and available in the Library of the House, contains figures for fuel used and electricity generated by the public supply system in the United Kingdom and in England and Wales. A detailed breakdown of the electricity generated by steam plant—other than nuclear—is not available on a monthly basis. The latest available percentage shares of gross electricity supplied (1) for the public supply system in Great Britain by type of station relate to the financial year 1975–76 and are given in the following table:

Type of StationPercentage share
Nuclear power—
Electricity Boards(2)9·9
Oil fired(2)9·9
Coal fired(2)(3)66·8
Mixed fired(2)(3)(4)9·4
(1) Gross electricity supplied is total electricity generated less electricity used on works for lighting and auxiliary power, and includes electricity supplied by pumped storage stations. Electricity purchased from sources other than UKAEA and BNFL are excluded but these are small relative to the total.
(2) Includes associated diesel and gas turbine plant, except where such plant comprises a separate section of a station, when it is shown against "other" stations.
(3) Stations, or sections of stations, burning pulverised fuel also use oil for lighting up purposes.
(4) Stations with a mixture of coal, oil or natural gas fired boilers.
(5) Diesel engine, gas turbine, hydro-electric (including pumped storage) stations, or sections of stations. Includes the net amount supplied from all stations pre-commissioned or de-commissioned in the period.
Information on fuel consumption corresponding exactly to the electricity supplied by the stations in the above table is not readily available, but the following table shows, in terms of coal or coal equivalent, the shares of the separate fuels which were used in 1975–76:

Type of FuelMillion tons of coal or coal equivalent
Electricity Boards9·3
Oil for firing boilers(2)14·4
Oil for lighting up boilers(3)2·4
Natural gas(5)3·5
(1) Expressed in the terms of the primary fuels that would be needed if the same amount of electricity was produced in contemporary conventional steam stations.
(2) Used in oil fired stations, and oil fired sections of mixed fired stations.
(3) Used in coal fired stations, and pulverised coal fired sections of mixed fired stations. Also used for flame control and overburning.
(4) Used in coal fired stations, and coal fired sections of mixed fired stations. Includes a small quantity of coke.

(5 ) Used in mixed fired stations.

(6 ) Includes oil used for diesel engine and gas turbine stations, or sections, and hydroelectricity expressed in terms of the primary fuels that would be needed if the same amount of electricity was produced in conventional stations.