This summer, power grids worldwide won’t produce enough electricity to meet the soaring demand, threatening more than one billion people with rolling blackouts. Grids are stretched thin by fossil fuel shortages, drought and heatwaves, commodity disruptions and soaring prices due to the war in Ukraine, and the failed green energy transition where grid operators retired too many fossil fuel generation plants. Combine this all together, and a perfect storm of blackouts threatens much of the Northern Hemisphere.
The power crisis, affecting a large swath of the world and top economies, could be less than a month away when summer begins on June 21. Regions that concerned Bloomberg are Asia, Europe, and the US, where there’s not enough power to go around when cooling demand is set to surge as households crank up their air conditions to escape the sweltering heat.
Asia’s heatwave has caused hours-long daily blackouts, putting more than 1 billion people at risk across Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and India, with little relief in sight. Six Texas power plants failed earlier this month as the summer heat just began to arrive, offering a preview of what’s to come. At least a dozen US states from California to the Great Lakes are at risk of electricity outages this summer. Power supplies will be tight in China and Japan. South Africa is poised for a record year of power cuts. And Europe is in a precarious position that’s held up by Russia — if Moscow cuts off natural gas to the region, that could trigger rolling outages in some countries. –Bloomberg
BloombergNEF analyst Shantanu Jaiswal says the combination of “war and sanctions” disrupting commodity markets, “extreme weather,” and “an economic rebound from COVID boosting power demand” is a “unique” situation that he “can’t recall” the last time a “confluence of so many factors” happened together. As we noted in the beginning, it’s a perfect storm of factors.