David MacKay says UK faces blackouts by 2016 if people continue to object to power generation facilities

The government’s new energy adviser has blamed the public for blocking the “serious building projects" that could close the energy gap by 2016, when existing coal and nuclear power plants are taken offstream.  

David MacKay, who starts at the Department of Energy on 1 October, said the public kept objecting to new wind farms, nuclear power and energy imports and complaining that green power sources were not coming onstream fast enough, while expecting an unchanged quality of life. He added that without new capacity, the UK could face blackouts by that date.

"There is a worry that in 2016 there might not be enough electricity,” he said. “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. We've got to stop saying no and understand that we do have a serious building project on our hands.”

Ministers have previously denied there would be an energy gap.

In his book, Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air, MacKay calculated that government numbers did not add up.