A stunned Lebanese population watched the lights go out across the entire country this past weekend. The power plants that keep the lights on ran out of fuel and were shut down. On Monday, one of their key oil facilities caught fire only adding to the fuel problems. The crisis weary nation fumed as their government scrambled to try and get the power plants back up and running. Lebanon's power crisis is not an isolated incident and it brings to light a growling global supply issue in the power market.
In India, the power plants around Delhi were facing a similar problem - no fuel. Officials raised alarms this past weekend saying that some of their critical systems only had a day's worth of coal left to keep the lights on for some of India's densest population centers.
China is also facing a coal shortage after economic ties with Australia were strained this year leading to power rationing for some rural Chinese communities.
England had to call out the army to ship fuel to dry gas stations. Lines, and tempers, snaked for miles in cities across the nation as the gasoline was unable to reach the inland pumps from their storage facilities on the coast due to a widespread shortage of lorry drivers.
Europe is facing record-high prices for natural gas.
The United States has near-record high prices for a gallon of gasoline nationwide.
The issues facing the global energy markets are more concerning as winter looms closer. Winter often drives the highest energy prices worldwide as families heat their homes to stave off the cold weather. The high price of natural gas and gasoline coupled with a growing coal shortage means that it will be more expensive than ever to heat a home this winter, worldwide.
Any increase in demand, while the supply chains are so fragile, threatens to upset an already volatile market leading to sharper shortages and rapidly increasing prices.
The US state of Texas gave the world a stark look at what happens when demand soars amid energy supply shortages during a freak cold snap in the winter of 2021. The increase in demand due to record low temperatures drove the entire state power grid to a near-total failure and left some customers on the hook for thousands of dollars of bills for power consumption during the crisis.
Now, experts warn that similar issues could play out across the world this winter if the supply chain problems plaguing the markets do not get resolved quickly.
The most frustrating part is that the energy is there, it just is not being transported efficiently. Backups at major freight centers across the globe are causing critical shipments of coal, oil, and gas to be delayed. There is no shortage, there are only staggering logistical problems.
Some people are using the shortages to point out the inherent flaws with relying so heavily on nonrenewable resources such as coal and gas ahead of a global summit on climate change due to kick-off on October 31st. Hosted by the United Nations, the talks will take place in the United Kingdom and run until November 12th.
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