The entire world is struggling to keep fueling their homes and industries with energy. The global impact of this severe energy crunch is named the perfect storm: different countries, different policies, but this same problem, an acute shortage of energy.
In China, a substantial percentage of the factories are shutting down, and the shadows of power outages are extending to residential areas. In Great Britain, soldiers are allocated to drive oil tankers, so the gas stations don’t run out of fuel for the locals. Remaining Europe is witnessing a spark scarcity of natural gas, with the eurozone inflating is at its peak, breaking the 13-year record. Whereas South America is standing on the verge of blackouts.
But, how is the entire world running out of energy altogether? And how can this issue be tackled?
The COVID Pandemic
The impact of post-pandemic recovery on the energy industry cannot be looked upon when talking about the elements contributing to the acute energy shortage. As the contagious coronavirus engulfed the world, most of the world and its energy-consuming economy came to standstill. Resulting in no international transports, shut down factories, and halt in businesses.
With the slowdown of global economic activities, the energy demand fell. Witnessing the fall in demand, the largest oil producers slashed output, and they started producing lesser and lesser coal and oil.
Then, the optimism of medical recovery after the ignition of the quick global vaccination campaign restarted the economic wheel. Air travel resumed, factories started running, creating a sudden spike in demand for energy. But, the supply stayed limited. The imbalance between an increased need for energy and the waning supply led to a shortage.
The Green Transition
The global shift towards better and less toxic green energy transition also plays a huge part in the current energy crunch. The lack of blueprint and road map for a rigid climate action plan and less investment in green energy coupled with the ambitious decision of bringing down the carbon emission to zero drafted today’s energy shortage.
China is an apt example. To meet the climate goals of limiting the nations’ emissions, president Xi Jinping cut the coal supply by a huge percentage, leaving a vast population in the dark.
Both the above factors do not hold only for a few listed countries but for the majority. The spark economic rebound coupled with the green energy transition goals contributes to making the already bad situation worse. But, some of the regional factors in some of the countries can also not be neglected.
The supply of oil and coal is not an issue for Britain but delivers. The scarcity of truck drivers for transporting fuel for collection to the fuel station was triggered by the botched-up Brexit is fueling the country’s energy crunch. This is often referred to as a Self-Inflicted Crisis.
As for the rest of Europe, their bet on green and clean energy is backfiring. Nevertheless, Europe is a major produced of green, renewable energy via two primary sources:
- The Sea Win (Denmark, Germany use wind power to produce renewable energy)
- Norway’s Water Reserviour
For its water reservoirs, Norway is called the powerhouse of Europe, as the biggest energy exporters. But, both of these sources of green energy are drying up. Norway’s water level has been dropping, and German winds have vanished. In light of this, the question arises, can Europe again go back to fossil fuels to meets its’ surging energy demand.
But, over some past years, Europes’ gas reserves have been falling, while their biggest supply source, Russia, has decided not to export more gas to the continent.
An estimate of 65% of South America’s power need is met by hydroelectricity from mega. But the drought recently has hit the dams badly. Paraná, South America’s longest river, is drying up with water levels at a 77-year record low. Leading many nations in the continent like Brazil on the verge of blackout and power cuts
Global Energy Crisis: What is Happening?
The ripple effect of the two global problems coupled with regional factors is causing ripple effects across the world. Inflation, energy shortage, economic slowdown are all hitting the world together. In many parts the price of gas, coal, and oil are setting some of the highest records.
The effect of this surge in price to both producers and consumers, with a possibility of getting ever direr in the coming months, is causing tensions. Winter is coming; without fuel and electricity, people will not be able to heat their homes.
How Can This Energy Crisis Be Tackled?
The only hope at this point of crisis is the production of more fuel. For example, oil cartels can help, but their carbon emission making leaders hesitate to opt for the option. On the other hand, OPEC is willing to accelerate output gradually, but now in one go.
Another lesson to take home from this global energy crisis is that the inflection of the worldwide economy. The transition from fossil fuel to a green energy source for its need, but the change is not seamless. Experts fear that more power outages and a shortage of energy can be seen in the foreseeable future.
The lack of proper transition planning has lead us to where we stand today. Instead of a well-planned pivot, most national and international leaders are just going with the flow. The result of this inflection can be clean energy, but the journey will be arduous and ugly.