Where does the UK’s Energy Come from?


What’s in this guide?


Have you ever switched on the light and wondered where your energy comes from?

Did you know that around 60% of the UK’s energy is imported from overseas?

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about where the UK’s energy comes from, including the journey it takes and renewable energy.

Let’s dig in and find out more.

Energy in the UK

Unfortunately, the UK relies mainly on energy coming from other countries to power homes and businesses.

This makes it one of the only European countries that are increasing their dependence rather than focusing on producing energy at home.

Luckily, many energy suppliers are taking over this responsibility.

From smaller energy suppliers such as Good Energy getting 100% of their energy from renewable sources in the UK, and big companies such as SSE investing millions in wind farms, there is a revolution taking place thanks to these suppliers.

That means that hopefully many suppliers will follow suit and start investing in these renewable sources that will never run out and avoid potentially dodgy practices such as fracking.

On average, the fuel imported from other countries usually travels around 2,500 miles before it even reaches the UK!

Renewable energy

When it comes to renewable energy, there are far more options than you might initially have thought.

Not only do some energy suppliers offer 100% renewable energy, such as Bulb, there are also usually green energy tariffs on offer from some of the bigger players such as the SMART Green Electric Vehicle September 2020 from ScottishPower.

It might have been expensive to go green in the past, but thanks to modern developments, sometimes energy from renewable sources could be cheaper.

Now, let’s find out the journey your energy takes to get to you.

The journey your energy takes

So, what are the steps that your energy takes to get to your light switch?

Step one

Over millions of years oil and gas forms when things such as plants or even algae die which then settle on the seabed.

This builds up over time, and the pressure of the material presses down on the sediment below it.

The plants don’t rot as there’s no oxygen.

They become kerogen which is then heated by pressure and the heat that naturally comes from the earth.

When this heat increases to 150°C, it will begin to turn into oil.

Should the temperature continue to increase, it will turn into gas.

Like a sponge, the rock around it sucks it in like a sponge, creating useful reserves that are then tapped far in the future.

Step two

Then, once one of these sources has been designated perfect for taking a closer look, a well will be drilled.

It’s like drilling into a wall at home – but instead of going through a couple of inches of the wall, it’s a few thousand meters of rock.

Once the hole has been drilled, it’s then lined with a casing that holds everything in place.

In shallow water, these are built directly onto the sea floor. But, in deep water, they’re often set into the seabed.

Step three

So, now you are left with a well.

A production facility is created to extract the gas from the well, which requires expert engineering and hot corrosive fluids.

Each well often has a working life that spans several decades, with the gas piped from these wells to refineries that are on land.

Step four

Refiners are essentially large chemical plants. They purify natural gas and separates components for use in other areas.

The gas is then stored in massive tanks that are sometimes the size of houses. Or, pumped directly into a distribution network.

For your home, gas is taken from the power network into a local, more low-pressure system which connects to the meter in your home and measures how much energy you have used.

Ultimately, this flows through your boiler, your hob and fire if that’s what you use it for.

From the depths of the sea to frying your eggs in the morning

And that’s the journey your energy takes, from being hundreds of miles below to help you make your breakfast.


Did you know that you could be saving up to £500 on your energy bills every year?

Take a look at the EnergySeek guides to find out more about your energy, or see reviews of the top 7 energy switching sites to compare gas & electricity.