Global power shortages

Autor: Alexander Ač | 22.8.2011 o 22:29 | Karma článku: 0,00 | Prečítané:  963x

Tom Whipple, analytik všetkých udalostí viac či menej súvisiacich s energetikou a ropným zlomom prináča informácie o stále častejších výpadkoch elektriny, nielen ako následok sucha, ale aj vysokých cien ropy. Tu je jeho sumár.

Global power shortages

Largely unreported in the western press is the extent of the power shortages that are plaguing an ever-increasing number of countries across the world. Some of the shortages are due to droughts which have cut hydro-electric production, but more and more of the world's electric companies report they cannot afford to operate thermal power stations with oil prices above $100 a barrel.

As increasing quantities of inexpensive electric-powered consumer devices are being sold across the world, decades-old power systems can no longer support the demand. In many countries theft of electric power is endemic, leaving companies unable to pay for high-priced fossil fuels to burn in their power stations. Government price controls are only adding to the revenue problems.

It is hard to find a Central African country these days without some sort of power shortage - usually electricity but sometimes gasoline or propane. In South Asia the situation is worse with Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh destined to be in serious economic trouble within the next few years.

Small island states which are completely dependent on imported fuel are nearly all have a problem. On these islands, the little power in use is generated by small, inefficient, thermal or diesel power stations making the essentials of civilization such as lighting, refrigeration, and water pumps very, and sometimes prohibitively, expensive to operate.

In most cases, the now widespread rolling blackouts are inconveniences, but as outages extend to 12 or more hours a day, vital services are threatened. Operating factories under these conditions is becoming difficult to impossible and unless an organization can afford to generate its own very expensive electricity, enterprises around the world are being shuttered throwing hundreds of thousands out of work.

The prognosis is not good even for the world's economic powerhouses such as India. A recent report by Deloitte Touche notes that India's plans for economic growth are likely to be derailed by a lack of sufficient electricity. Increased demand for imported fuel from China and Japan and numerous other countries will make it difficult for India to import the quantities of fuel to necessary to maintain economic growth.

In sum, the evidence is accumulating that the limits to growth are already being felt in many corners of the world.



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