Is your power supply about to run out?

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1. Lights out

Each of us in the UK uses around 14kWh of electricity every day – that’s equivalent to boiling 110 kettles full of water.

There’s currently enough electricity to meet demand. But a power crisis is looming. In fact, many academics, policy makers and industry experts think we could run into trouble within just 10 years.

2. CLICKABLE: Power hungry

The UK’s power use rises and falls through a typical day. Click on the image to find out where this power goes.

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Electricity measured in GW. Usage typical of a UK weekday in winter. Data sources: National Grid and OFGEM.

3. INTERACTIVE: The looming shortfall

Our power stations need to be able to make around 60GW of electricity to meet our needs. Click on the image to find out why there will soon be a shortfall.

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60GW need derived from 54GW winter weekday peak demand plus a margin allowing for power system failures. Data sources: OFGEM, 2014 (peak demand); Department of Energy & Climate Change, 2015 (generation capacity in GW); National Grid, 2014 (power stations today); Energy UK, 2013 (expected closures by 2025). Data collated by Prof Matthew Leach, University of Surrey.

4. Can we avert the power crisis?

Which of these approaches could help plug our electricity gap over the next 10 years?

Build more nuclear stations

Nuclear power stations are extremely efficient and have almost no carbon emissions. So can we simply build more?

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Build more nuclear stations

Controversial

There are safety and cost concerns with storing toxic nuclear waste. Nuclear power stations are expensive to build and could take a decade to be up and running.

Introduce fracking

Fracking is a new technique to harness trapped gas under the ground. Could this open up a whole new energy source?

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Introduce fracking

Hotly debated

We already have a lot of gas, and using more would add to our carbon emissions. There could also be unknown risks for locals living near fracking sites.

Rely more on wind energy

Wind is the UK’s cheapest and most abundant renewable energy source, especially with turbines offshore. Can we use these more?

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Rely more on wind energy

Has potential

To rely on wind a lot more, engineers are working on storing electricity in batteries for windless days. The siting of windmills is controversial.

Use less power at home

We could choose energy-efficient appliances and turn them off when not in use. Would this make much difference to the UK’s needs?

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Use less power at home

An effective approach

Half of the UK’s demand comes from homes, so this could greatly help. Future smart tech could also turn off non-essential power automatically during peak times.