Sooner than expected closures of coal-fired power stations could result in blackouts by 2015/2016, energy regulator Ofgem warned on Friday.
Analysis produced by Ofgem this week warned that electricity margins - the amount of spare capacity on the system - could fall from 14% today down to 4% in 2015/16.
Ofgem blames possible blackouts on coal-fired power stations closing earlier than expected under European Union environmental legislation. The work is part of Ofgem’s first annual Electricity Capacity Assessment.
Energy secretary Ed Davey said the government will “consider carefully the implications” of the report and respond formally by the end of the year.
It comes three years after Ofgem’s Project Discovery report, which warned that electricity shortages could lead to steep rises in energy bills.
It is now saying the highest risk of shortages would be sooner than expected because coal-fired power stations would be closing sooner than it had predicted in 2009.