A major energy supply crunch is looming in Europe and elsewhere around the world, with soaring energy prices contributing to inflation and posing a serious risk to the post-pandemic economic recovery while hurting homes and businesses.
Whether or not this turns into a full-blown energy crisis now depends on the weather; how mild or severe winter is in Europe and other regions that compete with it for energy supplies will be a determining factor.
The intermittency of the weather – and renewables that rely on ideal conditions to produce ample amounts of energy – can be a big problem, as seen in the U.K. this summer. North Sea winds slowed down and wind power’s share of the U.K.’s energy supply dropped from 25 per cent down to just 7 per cent.
There’s nothing new about boom-and-bust cycles in the energy sector, but the situation in Europe, China and elsewhere around the globe are harbingers of more volatility to come. The world is focusing on more clean energy use, but countless nations are struggling to find a balance between their own energy security needs and taking action on climate.
Meanwhile, other countries – without any tangible commitments to move away from fossil fuels and towards renewables – are experiencing energy supply shortages of their own.
Here are several examples of the energy crisis unfolding around the globe:
If there's any country that might've been in a position to rescue Europe from its energy crisis, it’s the U.S. — home to vast shale fields holding a seemingly endless supply of natural gas and giant terminals capable of liquefying it and shuttling it abroad.
Millions of people around the globe will feel the impact of soaring natural gas prices this winter. The crisis in Europe presages trouble for the rest of the planet as the continent’s energy shortage has governments warning of blackouts and factories being forced to shut.
Europe is usually the end market for a substantial share of the world’s LNG. However, with other regions pulling harder, European LNG imports declined sharply this summer. At the same time, power generation from offshore wind disappointed – it has not been that windy in Europe recently – boosting demand for natural gas.
The British government is racing to avert shortages of meat, poultry and packaged foods amid a crisis in the food processing industry triggered by soaring energy costs.
Ireland could face electricity shortages over the next five winters because of rising demand and the closure of older power plants, a new report has warned.
Indian utilities are scrambling to secure coal supplies as inventories hit critical lows after a surge in power demand from industries and sluggish imports due to record global prices push power plants to the brink.
China Electricity Shortage: Industrial Production Grinds to Halt and Traffic Lights Fail Amid Rationing
China is in the midst of a power supply crisis that has turned critical in recent days – threatening entire power grids and prompting analysts to slash economic growth forecasts for the year.
A worldwide energy shortage is threatening to develop into a full-blown crisis. The scenes in the U.K. over the weekend were reminiscent of the 1970s, as drivers queued at thousands of filling stations amid fears of a fuel shortage, sparked by a lack of truck drivers. China is experiencing its own energy crunch as shortages have led to record coal prices and soaring natural gas costs. It’s beginning to have an impact; production at a number of factories—including some supplying Apple and Tesla—has been halted.
India’s massive fleet of coal plants are running dangerously low on stockpiles, which may force the nation to buy expensive shipments of the fuel or else risk blackouts.
Lebanon's state electricity company said on Thursday it risked a total blackout across the country by end-September as its fuel oil reserves dwindle.
Global Oil & Gas Demand is Growing
To safeguard both global economies and the clean energy transition, governments must develop stronger tools to manage swings in energy markets and smooth out a transition process that could get quite messy.
But policymakers must also recognize that demand for oil and gas is projected to continue growing for decades yet.
Today’s energy shortages and price spikes are a blaring reminder that the world needs more, not less, crude oil and natural gas. We also need sufficient fossil fuel-based systems to back up intermittent renewable energy when the weather is less than ideal.
Where should future supply for oil and gas come from in a world that’s ever-increasingly focussed on environmental outcomes? The most sustainable, responsible producers around that have world-class scores on Environmental, Social and Governance metrics, like Canada, of course!
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