(Bloomberg) -- The UK is facing a significant shortage of reliable power generation as nuclear, coal and gas plants will close in the years ahead without being replaced.

So-called dispatchable capacity, which can generally be called on at will, is set to fall from 93% to 85% of peak demand levels by 2027, according to consultant Baringa Partners LLP. That’s largely due to the retirement of inefficient fossil-fuel plants and nuclear reactors, as well as a rise in demand because of electrification.

The research, commissioned by Drax Group Plc, shows the danger of the nation’s increasing reliance on intermittent renewable power sources. Already this winter, the nation’s power system flirted with severe shortages as wind generation plunged and emergency measures needed to be taken. 

While the UK is set to see a 25 gigawatt increase in intermittent renewable capacity, it still needs stable generation as backup. The UK faces a decline of secure capacity of 4.5-6.3 gigawatts by 2027 and a 4 gigawatt increase in peak demand, according to the Baringa report. 

Drax, which generates dispatchable power from its biomass and coal-power station in Yorkshire, has urged the government to back its investment in carbon capture by approving it for a subsidy program, needed for the project to go ahead. 


©2023 Bloomberg L.P.