UK Faces Blackouts by 2016 Due to Lack of Clean Energy

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The UK could face blackouts as soon as 2016, because the planned clean power projects aren't coming online fast enough. That's the blunt analysis of the government's new energy adviser, according to the BBC. So what can the UK do to keep the lights from going off in a few short years?The problem has rarely been publicly addressed in the UK (though it's been reported on by the likes of the Economist)--and certainly not by government officials, who've all denied that they're heading for an energy gap. But the new energy adviser, David MacKay, says it comes down to one single thorny issue: the public keeps objecting to new energy projects.

Specifically, the public keeps shutting down proposals for wind farms and nuclear power plants, which is "creating a huge problem." Citizens object to the appearance of wind turbines in their communities--as they do in the US--and have repeatedly thwarted plans to build turbines across the country. So when the coal plants get phased out in 2016, as per the UK's climate plan, Mackay anticipates a severe lack of power capacity.

He thinks that they'll be forced to turn to natural gas, which isn't the long-term direction they want to be heading in. Mackay's solution? Simple. Up the build rate of alternatives--and get the public to accept that their expressed desire for change requires certain sacrifices.

"We've got to stop saying no to these things and understand that we do have a serious building project on our hands," he said, according to the BBC. "You cannot oppose them all and hope to have a viable policy on energy and climate change."

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