Science & Technology

UK Faces Power Crunch as Coal Plants Shut Down

Threat of power shortages rising


London at night sparkles with beautiful lighting, from the 11,500 lights that brighten the Edwardian facade of iconic department store Harrods to the 4,000 that illuminate the outline of Albert Bridge, spanning the River Thames. But are these popular tourist attractions—and the rest of the United Kingdom—at risk of going dark?

British authorities have been issuing some dire-sounding warnings. In February, the man then in charge of Ofgem, Britain's industry regulator, warned of an impending "near-crisis" of energy supply, calling the situation "horrendous" and likening it to being on a roller coaster headed "downhill—fast." Deputy Minister Nick Clegg was quoted saying that he was working to "keep the lights on."