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The government's new energy adviser says the UK could face blackouts by 2016 because green energy is not coming on stream fast enough.
Ministers have previously denied that the UK is heading for an energy gap.
But David MacKay, who takes up his post at the Department of Energy on 1 October, says that the public keep objecting to energy projects.
This, he says, is creating a huge problem, which could turn out the lights.
Professor MacKay is a researcher at Cambridge University.
His recent book, Sustainable Energy - Without The Hot Air, won applause for its examination of current government plans to keep the lights on whilst also cutting carbon emissions.
It concluded that policy is moving in the right direction, but the sums on energy provision simply do not add up - not enough power capacity is being built. Speaking unofficially, he told BBC News that this meant that Britain could face blackouts in 2016 - when coal and nuclear stations are phased out.
Professor David MacKay: "The scale of building required is absolutely enormous"
"There is a worry that in 2016 there might not be enough electricity. My guess is that what the market might do is fix that problem by making more gas power stations, which isn't the direction we want to be going in," he said.
"So we really should be upping the build rate of the alternatives as soon as possible."
What is it going to take for us to realise that we need to seek alternative forms of energy?
Given the general tendency of the public to say “no” to wind farms,
“no” to nuclear power, “no” to tidal barrages – “no” to anything other
than fossil fuel power systems – I am worried that we won’t actually get
off fossil fuels when we need to. Instead, we’ll settle for half-measures:
slightly-more-efficient fossil-fuel power stations, cars, and home heating
systems; a fig-leaf of a carbon trading system; a sprinkling of wind turbines;
an inadequate number of nuclear power stations.
We need to choose a plan that adds up. It is possible to make a plan
that adds up, but it’s not going to be easy.
Originally posted by C0bzz
The good thing about gas is that it is extremely cheap to build, compared to all other solutions, and it's fairly cheap to operate.