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Is there an 'energy gap'?

Citation Collins, C, Gross, R. and Heptonstall, P. Is there an 'energy gap'?. 2009.
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Author(s) Collins, C, Gross, R. and Heptonstall, P.
Opus Title Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Energy
Pages 145-157
Volume 161

A number of authors have suggested that the UK faces a looming energy gap in the coming decade because of an increasing dependence on imported fuels, the closure of a number of electricity generators and a perceived lack of investment in new generating capacity. Focusing on electricity generation, this paper seeks to clearly define what an energy gap is, explain why there may be concerns over such a gap and identify the reasons why a gap may or may not materialise. A central contention of this paper is that there is confusion over the two forms of energy gap, namely a fuel gap that would occur if insufficient fuel were available to generators to produce electricity and a capacity gap that would occur with insufficient generation capacity to convert available fuel into electricity. This conflation is unhelpful because the reasons for, and policy responses to, these two forms of gap may be quite distinct. The paper goes on to explore the issues surrounding these two manifestations of an energy gap and how they relate to policy.