The UK is heading towards a 40 to 55 per cent energy supply gap by 2025 due to closures of coal and nuclear power plants, without any facilities in construction to replace them.
A report from The Institution of Mechanical Engineers claims that plans to plug the gap by building Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plants were unrealistic as 30 would need to be constructed in the next 10 years.
In the previous decade, the UK has built just four CCGTs, which has been offset by the closure of one CCGT and eight power stations that use other fuels.
The report argues that the country has neither the resources nor enough people with the right skills to build this many power stations in time.
It is already too late for any other nuclear reactors to be planned and built by the coal shut-off target of 2025, other than Hinkley Point C which is already under construction and due for completion in 2023.
The energy gap will likely be filled with a greater reliance on interconnectors to import electricity from Europe and Scandinavia, although the report suggest this could weaken the UK’s energy security and is likely to lead to higher electricity costs.
Lead author of the report Dr Jenifer Baxter said: “The UK is facing an electricity supply crisis. As the UK population rises and with the greater use of electricity use in transport and heating it looks almost certain that electricity demand is going to rise.
“Currently there are insufficient incentives for companies to invest in any sort of electricity infrastructure or innovation and worryingly even the government’s own energy calculator does not allow for the scenarios that new energy policy points towards. Under current policy, it is almost impossible for UK electricity demand to be met by 2025."
A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: "We are the first country to propose an end date to using unabated coal and we will do so in a way that maintains energy security, which comes first.
"New gas power stations are being built and we are investing in cleaner energy, such as nuclear and shale gas, to ensure hardworking families and businesses have secure, affordable energy supplies they can rely on now and in the future."
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