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Explained: Why threat of possible power crisis is looming large across the world!

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At such a time of crisis, we need to look forward to strengthening our renewable energy infrastructure. While mining more fossil fuels and fixing the broken supply chain may be a temporary solution, we all know that in long run, we will run out of fossil fuels.

Explained: Why threat of possible power crisis is looming large across the world!
Fossil fuels are non-renewable sources of energy, which means that today, tomorrow, or sometime in the future, we will run out of fossil fuels. If we take a look at the current scenario, we can observe the signs of the future without fossil fuels. The entire world is currently facing an energy crisis as conventional energy sources like coal, petroleum, and natural gas are failing to fulfil the ever-increasing global energy demand.
Even the global superpowers like UK, USA, and China are having trouble meeting their energy demand. As a developing country, India too needs plenty of energy and it seems like coal-fired power plants wouldn’t be able to sustain themselves for a very long time. It, therefore, seems reasonable to focus our “energies” on non-conventional and renewable energy options like solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal energies.
Conventional energy prices are at an all-time high
The prices of natural gas, oil, coal, and other energy sources have all skyrocketed this year all over the world. For instance, the price of natural gas has risen by over 400 percent in Europe since the beginning of the year! The lack of energy has also applied brakes on China’s factory output, which has slowed down the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Energy prices affect economic decisions across the supply chain. This has left many companies in Europe and Asia with no option but to shut down as they are not able to bear the rising energy costs. Even though the coal prices in India have remained stable despite the global hike, we need to look at renewable energy sources like solar energy to brace for the shockwave of rising energy prices that is headed our way.
What is the cause of the crisis?
Several factors are responsible for the crisis that we’re currently facing. Since the pandemic has waned a bit in terms of severity and we’ve developed several vaccines for the virus, the countries are beginning to make recovery. This bounce-back has led to an increase in global energy demand. At the same time though, the energy production has failed to bounce back as quickly due to the damage that was caused to the supply chains during the pandemic. It is one of the primary reasons responsible for the UK’s fuel crisis. There is a lack of truck drivers that are needed to ferry fuel tankers. This fragmented supply chain is causing delays in the delivery of fuel which is "fueling” the energy crisis.
Some other analysts believe that the rise in energy prices can be attributed to "greenflation" caused by increasing restrictions placed by governments on traditional energy sources. Many countries, over the last few years, have tried to tighten the leash on pollution by resorting to non-conventional and renewable energy sources.
China, for instance, cracked down heavily on coal mining last year and pledged a 65 percent reduction in its emissions by 2030. The U.K. is known to rely heavily on wind energy to meet 25 percent of its total energy demand. Even though the production of conventional energy sources has been slowed down, enough renewable energy systems haven’t been set up in their place.
What does the future hold?
We will likely have to deal with energy shortage for a while because even if immediate measures are taken to address the supply-demand gap, it takes some time for the energy producers to increase their output to meet the growing demand.
A lot of what happens will depend on how the governments all over the world deal with the crisis. While the price controls may please the customers, it leaves no incentive for power manufacturers to boost their supply. If the energy is cheap the people tend to use it less judiciously, which results in wastage and shortages.
At such a time of crisis, we need to look forward to strengthening our renewable energy infrastructure. While mining more fossil fuels and fixing the broken supply chain may be a temporary solution, we all know that in long run, we will run out of fossil fuels.
In complete contrast, we will always have an abundance of solar energy. Every hour the Earth receives 430 quintillion joules of energy from the sun. That is very close to the global energy demand for 1 year! Imagine if we started efficiently converting solar energy into electricity. We will practically have an infinite supply of energy to power the entire world!
— The author, Gautam Mohanka is MD, Gautam Solar. Views expressed are personal
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