- Energy crisis
An energy crisis is any great bottleneck (or price
rise) in the supply of energy resources to an economy. It usually refers to the shortage of oil and additionally to electricityor other natural resources. An energy crisis may be referred to as an oil crisis, petroleum crisis, energy shortage, electricity shortage or electricity crisis.
Market failureis possible when monopolymanipulation of markets occurs. A crisis can develop due to industrial actions like union organized strikes and government embargoes. The cause may be over-consumption, ageing infrastructure, choke pointdisruption or bottlenecks at oil refineries and port facilities that restrict fuel supply. An emergency may emerge during unusually cold winters.
Pipeline failures and other accidents may cause minor interruptions to energy supplies. A crisis could possibly emerge after infrastructure damage from
severe weather. Attacks by terrorists or militiaon important infrastructure are a possible problem for energy consumers, with a successful strike on a Middle Eastfacility potentially causing global shortages. Political events, for example, when governments change due to regime change, monarchy collapse, military occupation, and coup may disrupt oil and gas production and create shortages.
1973 oil crisis- Cause: an OPECoil export embargo by many of the major Araboil-producing states, in response to western support of Israelduring the Yom Kippur War
1979 energy crisis- Cause: the Iranian revolution
1990 spike in the price of oil- Cause: the Gulf War
* The 2000–2001
California electricity crisis- Cause: failed deregulation, and business corruption.
* The UK fuel protest of 2000 - Cause: Raise in the price of crude oil combined with already relatively high taxation on road fuel in the UK.
North American natural gas crisis
* Argentine energy crisis of 2004
North Koreahas had energy shortages for many years.
Zimbabwehas experienced a shortage of energy supplies for many years due to financial mismanagement.
While not entering a full crisis, political riots that occurred during the
2007 Burmese anti-government protestswere initially sparked by rising energy prices. Likewise the Russia-Ukraine gas disputeand the Russia-Belarus energy disputehave been mostly resolved before entering a prolonged crisis stage.
Crises that currently exist include:
Oil price increases since 2003- Caused by continued global increases in petroleum demand coupled with production stagnation, the falling value of the U.S. dollar, and a myriad of other secondary causes.
2008 Central Asia energy crisis, caused by abnormally cold temperatures and low water levels in an area dependent on hydroelectric power. Despite having significant hydrocarbon reserves, in February 2008 the President of Pakistanannounced plans to tackle energy shortages that were reaching crisis stage. [cite web |url=http://www.app.com.pk/en/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=28257&Itemid=2 |title= Musharraf for emergency measures to overcome energy crisis |accessdate=2008-02-10 |format= |work=Associated Press of Pakistan ] At the same time the South African President was appeasing fears of a prolonged electricity crisis in South Africa. [cite web |url=http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/660d00cc-d6b0-11dc-b9f4-0000779fd2ac.html |title=Mbeki in pledge on energy crisis |accessdate=2008-02-10 |format= |work=Financial Times ]
* South African electrical crisis. The South African crisis, which may last to 2012, lead to large price rises for platinum in February 2008 [cite web |url=http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080220/full/451877a.html |title=Energy crisis upsets platinum market|accessdate=2008-02-21 |format= |work=Nature ] and reduced gold production.
Chinaexperienced severe energy shortages towards the end of 2005 and again in early 2008. During the latter crisis they suffered severe damage to power networks along with diesel and coal shortages. [cite web |url=http://www.isa.org/InTechTemplate.cfm?Section=Departments5&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=68134 |title=Coal shortage has China living on the edge |accessdate=2008-03-08 |format= |work= ] Supplies of electricity in Guangdongprovince, the manufacturing hub of China, are predicted to fall short by an estimated 10 GW. [cite web |url=http://uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKL0640101120080306?sp=true |title=China's Guangdong faces severe power shortage |accessdate=2008-03-08 |format= |work= Reuters]
ocial and economic effects
The macroeconomic implications of a
supply shock-induced energy crisis are large, because energy is the resource used to exploit all other resources. When energy markets fail, an energy shortage develops. Electricity consumers may experience intentionally-engineered rolling blackouts which are released during periods of insufficient supply or unexpected power outages, regardless of the cause.
Industrialized nations are dependent on oil, and efforts to restrict the supply of oil would have an adverse effect on the economies of oil producers. For the consumer, the price of natural gas, gasoline (petrol) and
dieselfor cars and other vehicles rises. An early response from stakeholders is the call for reports, investigations and commissions into the price of fuels. There are also movements towards the development of more sustainable urban infrastructure.
In the market, new technology and
energy efficiencymeasures become desirable for consumers seeking to decrease transport costs. [ [http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/46675/story.htm High Oil Prices Boost Energy Efficiency] . January 30, 2008 Planet Ark.] Examples include
* In 1980
Briggs & Strattondeveloped the first gasoline hybrid electric automobile; also are appearing plug-in hybrids.
* modernized and electrifying passenger transport
Railway electrification systems and new engines such as the Ganz-Mavaglocomotive
innovations like the Dahon, a folding bicycle
variable compression ratiofor vehicles
* the growth of
Other responses include the development of
non-conventional oilsources such as synthetic fuelfrom places like the Athabasca Oil Sands, more renewable energy commercializationand use of alternative propulsion. There may be a Relocation trend towards local foods and possibly microgeneration, solar thermal collectors and other green energysources. Tourismtrends change and ownership of gas-guzzlers vary, both because of increases to fuel costs which are passed on to customers. Items which were not so popular gain favour, such as nuclear power plantsand the blanket sleeper, a garment to keep children warm. Building constructiontechniques change to reduce heating costs, potentially through increased insulation.
An electricity shortage is felt most by those who depend on electricity for their heating,
cookingand water supply. In these circumstances a sustained energy crisis may become a humanitarian crisis.
If an energy shortage is prolonged a
crisis managementphase is enforced by authorities. Energy audits may be conducted to monitor usage. Various curfews with the intention of increasing energy conservationmay be initiated to reduce consumption. To conserve power during the Central Asia energy crisis, authorities in Tajikistan ordered bars and cafes to operate by candlelight. [cite web |url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18784716 |title=Crisis Looms as Bitter Cold, Blackouts Hit Tajikistan |accessdate=2008-02-10 |format= |work= NPR] Warnings issued that peak demand power supply might not be sustained.
In the worst kind of energy crisis
energy rationingand fuel rationingmay be incurred. Panic buyingmay beset outlets as awareness of shortages spread. Facilities close down to save on heating oil; and factories cut production and lay off workers. The risk of stagflationincreases.
Mitigation of an energy crisis
Hirsch reportmade clear that an energy crisis is best averted by preparation. In 2008, solutions such as the Pickens Planand the satirical in origin Paris Hilton energy plansuggest the growing public consciousness of the importance of mitigation. Energy policymay be reformed leading to greater energy intensity, for example in Iranwith the 2007 Gas Rationing Plan in Iran, Canadaand the National Energy Programand in the USA with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. In Europe the oil phase-out in Swedenis an initiative a government has taken to provide energy security. Another mitigation measure is the setup of a cacheof secure fuel reserves like the United States Strategic Petroleum Reserve, in case of national emergency. Chinese energy policy includes specific targets within their 5 year plans. Andrew McKillophas been a proponent of a contract and converge model or capping scheme, to mitigate both emissions of greenhouse gases and a peak oil crisis. The imposition of a carbon taxwould have mitigating effects on an oil crisis.fact|date=February 2008 The Oil Depletion Protocol has been developed by Richard Heinbergto implement a powerdown during a peak oil crisis. While many sustainable developmentand energy policy organisations have advocated reforms to energy developmentfrom the 1970s, some cater to a specific crisis in energy supply including Energy-Questand the International Association for Energy Economics. The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre and the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gasexamine the timing and likely effects of peak oil.
William Reesbelieves that
Due to a lack of political viability on the issue, government mandated fuel prices hikes are unlikely and the unresolved
dilemmaof fossil fuel dependence is becoming a wicked problem. A global soft energy pathseems improbable, due to the rebound effect. Conclusions that the world is heading towards an unprecedented large and potentially devastating global energy crisis due to a decline in the availability of cheap oil lead to calls for a decreasing dependency on fossil fuel.
Other ideas have been proposed which concentrate on improved, energy-efficient design and development of urban infrastructure in developing nations. [cite web |url=http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Delivery.cfm/SSRN_ID1221622_code1033336.pdf?abstractid=1221622 |title=The Urban Component of the Energy Crisis |accessdate=2008-08-13 |author=Vittorio E. Pareto, Marcos P. Pareto |format= |work= ]
Government funding for alternative energy is more likely to increase during an energy crisis, so too are incentives for
oil exploration. For example funding for research into inertial confinement fusiontechnology increased during 1970's.
Future and alternative energy sources
In response to the petroleum crisis, the principles of
green energyand sustainable livingmovements gain popularity. This has led to increasing interest in alternate power/fuel research such as fuel cell technology, liquid nitrogen economy, hydrogen fuel, biomethanol, biodiesel, Karrick process, solar energy, geothermal energy, tidal energy, wave power, and wind energy, and fusion power. To date, only hydroelectricityand nuclear powerhave been significant alternatives to fossil fuel.
Hydrogen gas is currently produced at a net energy loss from natural gas, which is also experiencing declining production in North America and elsewhere. When not produced from natural gas, hydrogen still needs another source of energy to create it, also at a loss during the process. This has led to hydrogen being regarded as a 'carrier' of energy, like electricity, rather than a 'source'. The unproven dehydrogenating process has also been suggested for the use water as an energy source.
Efficiency mechanisms such as
Negawatt powercan encourage significantly more effective use of current generating capacity. It is a term used to describe the trading of increased efficiency, using consumption efficiency to increase available market supply rather than by increasing plant generation capacity. As such, it is a demand-sideas opposed to a supply-side measure.
Although technology has made oil extraction more efficient, the world is having to struggle to provide oil by using increasingly costly and less productive methods such as deep sea drilling, and developing environmentally sensitive areas such as the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The world's population continues to grow at a quarter of a million people per day, increasing the consumption of energy. Although far less from people in developing countries, especially USA, the per capita energy consumption of
China, Indiaand other developing nations continues to increase as the people living in these countries adopt more energy intensive lifestyles. At present a small part of the world's population consumes a large part of its resources, with the United Statesand its population of 300 million people consuming far more oil than China with its population of 1.3 billion people. William Cattonhas emphasised the link between population size and energy supply, concluding that David Pimentelprofessor of ecology and agriculture at Cornell University, has called for massive reduction in world populations in order to avoid a permanent global energy crisis. The implication is that cheap oil has created a human overshoot beyond Earth's carrying capacitywhich inevitably lead to an energy crisis. David Pricepostulates that population growth occurs when a higher quality form of energy is commercialised. [cite web |url=http://dieoff.org/page199.htm |title=Population and Energy |accessdate=2008-02-13 |author=David Price |format= |work= ] Matthew Simmonsand Julian Darleyamongst others, have examined the economic effects of an energy crisis. Historian, and sociologist Franz Schurmannlinks an energy crisis with a deflating American dollar. He has stated that
Christopher Falvin, geopoliticalfactors has resulted in current energy system, based on fossil fuels, to be a risk managementissue that undermines global security.fact|date=February 2008 Considering the significant source of greenhouse gas emissions accumulating in the atmosphere, fossil fuel energy is being viewed as increasingly socially irresponsible. Joseph Tainteris an expert on societal collapseand energy supply who draws attention to the complexityof modern society and our ability to problem solve the wider issue of environmental degradation. [cite web |url=http://dieoff.org/page134.htm |title=Complexity, Problem Solving, and Sustainable Societies |accessdate=2008-02-13 |author=Joseph A. Tainter |format= |work=Getting Down To Earth: Practical Applications of Ecological Economics |publisher=Island Press]
Kenneth S. Deffeyesagricultural production is heavily dependent on hydrocarbons for energy, in the form of petroleum to power machinery and transport goods to market. Another important input is fertilizerusage that is highly dependent on natural gas for its production and sometimes for fueled irrigation. Between the late 1940s and early 1980s, as the Green Revolutiontransformed agriculture around the globe, world grain production increased by 250%. The energy for the Green Revolution was provided almost always by fossil fuels.fact|date=February 2008 The 20th century population explosion is strongly correlated with the discovery and extraction of hydrocarbons.
The decision to develop a biofuel industry through subsidies and tariffs in the USA has increased food costs globally.
Lester R. Brownstates [cite web |url=http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_26043.shtml |title=Ethanol craze adds to hunger pangs of world's poor |accessdate=2008-02-14 |work= ] that by converting grains into fuel for cars
Some experts including Howard Odum and
David Holmgrenhave used the term energy descentto describe a post-peak oil period of transition. Ron Swenson has described a looming peak oil crisis as a calamity unparalleled in human history.fact|date=April 2008 The peaking of world hydrocarbon production, known as peak oilmay test Malthuscritics. Michael C. Rupperthas discussed energy crises in relation to the petrodollar, oil imperialismand police states.
Fictional scenarios have been explored in;
* Ice, online comic
Oil Storm, movie
The Man Who Broke Britain, a BBC docudrama
The Running Man- depicts the effects of a global economy collapse
* Alien - depicts deep-space
oil refiningafter Earth's supplies are exhausted.
Mad Max- depicts an energy starved post- apocalypseworld
* , depicts a global energy crisis in 2024 leading to war between Western Coalition (EU and USA) against Red Star Alliance (Russia and China) over the last remaining natural resources.
* The economic influence of Energy Returned on Energy Invested
Gasoline usage and pricing
* "" - examines the effect of
cold waroil shortages during the Special Period.
* "Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict" by
* "" by
The Long Emergency" by James Howard Kunstler, explores a psychology of previous investment
* [http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/100303_eating_oil.html Eating Fossil Fuels] by
Dale Allen Pfeiffer
* "The Coming Oil Crisis" by Colin Campbell
Energy and American Society- disputes an energy crisis exists in 2007
* "The Final Energy Crisis (2nd edition)" ed by Sheila Newman (Pluto Press, London, 2008); a study of energy trends, prospects, assets and liabilities in different political systems and regions
* [http://www.321energy.com/index.php 321energy]
* [http://www.energybulletin.net/news.php Energy bulletin]
* [http://www.energyshortage.org/ Energy shortages]
* [http://www.theoildrum.com/ The Oil Drum]
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Look at other dictionaries:
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