UK headed for major energy shortage, study suggests

Britain could see its electricity production fall short of demand by up to 55 per cent in ten years' time, according to a study published this week by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

27th January 2016

UK headed for major energy shortage, study suggests

Britain could see its electricity production fall short of demand by up to 55 per cent in ten years' time, according to a study published this week by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

The looming energy gap could be caused by the phasing out of coal-fired power plants and older nuclear reactor, along with a failure to invest in alternative energy generation sources or build new gas-fired plants. Combined with rising demand and the uncertainty of importing energy from abroad, this could lead to blackouts within a decade, the study warns.

IMechE's head of energy and environment, Jennifer Baxter, said that it was virtually impossible for the UK’s electricity demand to be met by 2025 under current government policy.

The study, Engineering the UK's Electricity Gap, criticises the government for cutting subsidies to wind and solar power and for not doing enough to encourage domestic energy efficiency. A competition to explore storage technology and carbon capture, which could have extended the lives of the UK's coal-fired power stations, was also cancelled late last year.

Up to 30 new gas-fired power stations would be needed to stave off what Ms Baxter described as ‘an electricity supply crisis,’ however, she claims that the country does not have the time, the resources or the skilled manpower to do this. Only four new gas plants have been built in the last decade, with none currently planned.

With the energy gap estimated at 40-55 per cent by 2025, the study urges greater investment in researching and developing energy alternatives and a greater focus on the exploration of shale gas in the UK.

Published by Green Jobs Online - 27th January 2016

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