Over the last decade the UK has used 10% less energy than the previous 10 years, while GDP has returned to its 2004 levels despite the financial crash which wiped 7% off national wealth.
This is impressive as the number of households is 6% higher than 2004 – and is a trend that has been mirrored across the first world.
Experts attribute some of the falls in energy use a raft of households energy efficiency measures such as; better insulation and boilers and incandescent light bulbs – although there is still a long way to go (see panel).
With UK and global energy use set to double in the next 30 years, and UK energy prices set to rise as a result of renewable subsidies, the Government is keen to see households and businesses cut consumption by 50% by 2050.
If you throw into this mix the need for countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by switching to renewable power supplies, then this presents a major headache for policy makers and grid operators.
Here in the North East a world-leading trial aimed at supporting the transition to a smarter renewable electricity system is coming to an end.
Incentives offered during the trial include free electricity on a Saturday and cheaper energy during off-peak periods.
The findings report that on average the customers consumed 3% less energy and reduced their peak consumption by 10%.