Britain’s Black Outs
The UK faces widespread power cuts for the first time since the 1970s, according to the Government's own predictions.
Demand for electricity from homes and businesses is set to exceed the available supply within eight years.
Power rationing has not taken place in Britain since the 1970s, when a three-day week was brought in to preserve coal during a miners' strike. The latest figures cast doubt over the Government's pledge that renewable sources can make up for lower output from nuclear and coal.
They were slipped out in an appendix to the Low Carbon Transition Plan, which was launched in July. The main document set out a target for "clean" technology - such as wind, wave and solar - to supply 40% of the country's power by 2020. But the extra section suggests that there will be a shortfall by 2017, when the "energy unserved" level is predicted to reach 3,000 megawatt hours per year.
That would be equivalent to the whole of the Nottingham area being without electricity for a day. By 2025 the situation is expected to worsen, with the shortfall hitting 7,000 megawatt hours per year. That would be the equivalent to an hour-long power cut for half of Britain over the course of a year.
Tory energy and climate change spokesman Greg Clark said: “Britain faces blackouts because the Government has put its head in the sand about Britain's energy policy for a decade.
“Labour have been forced to admit they expect power cuts for the first time since the 1970s. We have known for the best part of a decade that North Sea oil and gas is running out, that nuclear power stations are coming to the end of their shelf life and that most polluting coal-fired power stations are going to be shut down.
“But the Government has done nothing about it and now consumers are going to pay.”
A spokesman for the Energy and Climate Change Department said: “We are moving in the right direction towards low carbon energy but we are in transition. We can't just click our fingers and expect to end carbon emissions overnight.”