Monday, July 25, 2011

Lights Out All Over the World: Electricity Supplies Are Running Out

Much of the world is slowly losing the struggle to supply its people with the electricity required to maintain the industrial lifestyle. Heat waves and droughts — made worse by industry’s profligate burning of fossil fuels — are at the same time increasing demand for air conditioning and reducing the supply of hydro power. Other sources of electricity — fossil-fuel burning and nuclear fission — are afflicted by rising prices and more frequent disasters.

United States consumers have not yet felt the sting of the double whammy — rising prices for scarcer supplies — in either energy or food to the extent that poorer populations have, and remain secure in their belief that only the other end of the boat is sinking. But even a casual survey reveals that the other end of the boat is very low in the water indeed.

Perhaps the most afflicted country at the moment, electrically speaking, is Pakistan where the Chairman of the National Power Authority says the country is only producing half of its generating capacity due to the lack of money to pay for fuel. Foreign investors have started to transfer their operations to other Asian countries due to the prolonged power outages. One estimate has Pakistan’s industrial production down by 20 to 25 percent, with 400,000 people out of jobs. With 15-20 hours of loadshedding taking place in most areas, many businesses are turning to diesel generators, but this is a major drain on the economy. (more)