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Our Energy Sources | Enova Community Energy

 

What is the Energy Crisis?

 

The world energy crisis is a complex topic. Broadly speaking, the energy crisis is the concern that the world’s limited natural resources are diminishing at a rate too quick to meet the demand to power our increasingly industrialised society. These natural resources are in limited supply, and while they do occur naturally, it can take hundreds of thousands of years to replenish the stores. The natural resources supply is simply not able to meet the demand.

 

Most people find it difficult to connect the energy crisis with its impact, unless the price of their electricity bill goes up, or they’re experiencing a lot of interruptions to their supply. The energy crisis is something that is ongoing and getting increasingly worse despite a lot of work to resolve it. 

 

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A main reason is a general lack of understanding around the complex issues, causes, effects and solutions for the energy crisis that will enable a more widespread and concentrated effort at resolving it. 

 

The world energy crisis in developed and developing countries stems from the foreseeable end of the cycle of oil, gas and coal. In addition to depleting the oil, gas and coal resources, there is also a considerable increase in the greenhouse gases (GHG) being produced.

 

In recent years, many scientists have raised their voice to warn about climate change, caused notably by the burning of oil and coal in order to produce energy.

 

Governments and concerned businesses and individuals are working together to make the use of renewable resources a priority and to lessen the irresponsible use of fossil fuels and natural resources in short supply.

 

 

What are the causes of the Energy Crisis?

 

The energy crisis is affecting all parts of the world, including developed and developing countries. It doesn’t take much to see that our energy needs over the past few decades have skyrocketed, and we are reliant on an ageing fossil-fuel driven energy grid. 

 

Our consumption, coupled with diminishing resources, and their effect on the health of the environment are the main causes of the world energy crisis. But we are also facing challenges of overconsumption and energy waste. 

 

The energy crisis is a quite complex issue and made up of multiple causes. Broadly speaking it can be broken up into 10 causes – the first four of which are the major contributors.

 

 

1. Overconsumption

The energy crisis is a result of many different strains on our natural resources, not just one. There is a strain on fossil fuels such as oilgas, and coal due to overconsumption – which then, in turn, can put a strain on our water and oxygen resources by causing pollution.

 

Our current consumption model relies mostly on consumable and finite resources like coal, oil, and natural gas and these are becoming closer to being exhausted. According to current projections, we only have enough oil reserves for about 40-60 years, about 60 years’ worth of conventional oil and about 2 centuries worth of coal reserves.

 

 

mark-pan4ratte--bv0kznJnpE-unsplash2. Overpopulation

Another cause of the crisis has been a steady increase in the world’s population and its demands for energy.

 

Energy demands are, and will be, amplified by the demographic and economic boom of growing areas. It’s been speculated that the world’s population should reach nearly 10 billion people in 2050. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global energy demand could increase by more than 50% by 2030 in the absence of public policies in this area.

 

And what we put into context less often is not only our increased demand for energy/electricity but our increased demand for food and day-to-day products. Even ethically sourced, organic food, made from natural resources, etc.) all come with an element of impact and drain on energy resources (through production, transportation, energy to power the factory etc.)

 

 

3. Energy waste

The importance of conserving energy is quite often underestimated. It is often limited to books, the internet, newspaper ads, and lip service. Energy waste describes the wastage of energy sources, in particular fuels and electricity. Consequently, the reduction of waste is a colossal source of energy savings, which requires actions both on an individual and collective level.

 

 

4. Unexplored or underutilised renewable energy options

Renewable energy still remains unused or underutilised in most countries. While Australia has a high level of renewable sources to access (lots of sun, roof space, etc.) currently only 21% of the total electricity generated comes from Renewable sources. Most of the energy comes from non-renewable sources like coal. This means there is quite a lot of room for improvement in this area. 

 

Unless we focus seriously on renewable energy, the problem of the world energy crisis cannot be solved. Renewable energy sources can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and also helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

 

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5. Poor infrastructure

Ageing infrastructure of power generating equipment is another reason for the global energy crisis, and in particular of the Australian energy crisis. We are operating on a very old electricity system. Most energy networks are using outdated equipment that restricts the efficient and effective production of energy.

 

It is the responsibility of utilities to keep on upgrading the infrastructure and set a high standard of performance. Though upgrading costs a lot of money and uses a significant amount of additional resources. These resources, while they are polluting and causing a significant increase in Co2 emissions, are also becoming increasingly close to exhaustion.

 

 

6. Delay in commissioning of power plants

There is a significant delay in the commissioning of new power plants that can fill the gap between demand and supply of energy. The result is that the system comes under huge stress to meet the daily demand for power. When supply doesn’t match demand, it results in load-shedding and or even a system blackout.

 

 

7. Poor distribution system

Frequent tripping, power outages, line breakdowns or faults and disruptions to supply are a result of a poor distribution system. When these interruptions to supply are experienced and supply becomes more expensive. 

 

 

8. Major accidents and natural disasters

Major accidents like a major line fault or break, and natural disasters like drought, flood, cyclones, eruption of volcanoes, and earthquakes cause interruptions to energy supplies. 

 

 

9. Wars 

Wars between countries can also hamper the supply of energy, especially if it happens in Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, UAE, or Qatar – major suppliers or oil. This causes increase in prices of oil and global shortages which in turn have a ripple effect causing problems for energy consumers. 

 

 

10. Miscellaneous factors

Tax hikes, strikes, political events, severe hot summers or cold winters can cause a sudden increase in demand for energy and can choke supply. 

 

 

 

What are the effects of the energy crisis?

 

The effects of the energy crisis are both environmental and economic. Some important effects of the global energy crisis are as follows:

 

 

1. Environmental effects

The overuse of traditional energy sources leads - among other things - to the increase of greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2), resulting in global warming and harming the environment and biodiversity.

 

 

2. Economic and global economy effects

Energy conditions (supply and reliability) are a main factor in assessing the possibility of economic growth, which is essential to the market economy, particularly for developing countries. The energy crisis could therefore have a dramatic impact on the global economy.

 

 

3. Increasing prices of the fuel resources

As the use of fossil fuels increases, the cost of these resources increases too. We must remember that the quantity in which these fossil fuels are available is limited. As we keep on using these resources, the amount of these fossil fuels further decreases.

 

With every passing day, the demand for these fuels increases daily while their available quantity decreases every day. This leads to an immense increase in the price of fossil fuels, causing the price to increase day in and day out. This creates a huge economic disturbance globally. 

 

 

4. Socio-political effects

Energy shortages and resulting economic factors may create socio-political issues. Energy security is one of the major concerns of the main economic centres of the world. In fact, energy (availability and usage) influences the possibility of growth, which is essential to the market economy. 

 

The fact that the energy crisis creates some socio-economic effects, also tells us that this global energy crisis also creates a lot of political effects globally too. 

 

 

5. The effect on tourism, industry and production

The effects of the global energy crisis impacts industry, production and in particular tourism. The increased demand for supply impacts the overall energy available to run businesses, and drives the cost of operation up. 

 

In particular, the tourism industry is largely dependent on the rise and fall of fuel prices and energy demand. With increase in prices, there is an increase in the cost of tourism as well. 

 

 

What can we do to prevent or solve the Energy Crisis?

 

The global energy crisis is already upon us, so preventing it altogether is impossible. However, there are some things we can do to help to prevent it getting any worse and for solving some of it too. 

 

 

1. Move towards renewable resources

The best possible solution is to reduce the world’s dependence on non-renewable resources and to improve overall conservation efforts. Much of the industrial age was created using fossil fuels, but there are also known and well-tested technologies that use renewable energies – such as hydro energy, solar energy, and wind energy.

 

One concern is that we will run out of gas or oil. However, a larger concern is that the use of coal is going to continue to pollute the atmosphere and destroy other natural resources in the process of mining the coal. So it’s essential that this is replaced as an energy source.

 

This isn’t easy as many of the leading industries use coal, as their primary source of power for manufacturing, but it is achievable with a concerted and collective effort.

 

While Australia generates only 21% of its total energy from renewables, Enova Energy currently sources about half of our energy from our customers’ rooftop solar power systems. This is the highest of any retailer in the market currently. We then buy carbon offsets for the remaining amount purchased from the grid so that we can proudly say we are 100% carbon neutral, while we continue to strive for 100% renewable.

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2. Increase focus on storage technologies

Working in parallel with the move towards a more widespread use of renewable sources, we need a collective effort in increasing and improving the storage technologies such as batteries or pumped hydro energy storage and making these more accessible and cost effective. Increasing the availability, effectiveness and cost of these will support the move toward renewable sources and make them more accessible, more reliable and ultimately more effective. 

 

Enova Energy partners with Red Earth Energy Storagecheck them out here.

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3. Increase energy efficiency initiatives

We've got dedicated pages for our tips on energy efficiency for the home here, or for business here

 

Simple things can go a long way in saving energy:

  • Switching off fans and lights when not in use
  • Being mindful of when you’re using your appliances
  • Limiting the use of heating and cooling
  • Using maximum daylight
  • Walking instead of driving for short distances
  • Using LED bulbs instead of traditional bulbs
  • Proper insulation

 

You could also look into some of the interesting energy-saving tools you can get in the home/business. Heaters and air conditioners being on timers, lighting controls, smart meters etc. These all help save electricity / energy and cost in the long run too.

 

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4. A different, easier way of using the grid

People who use different options to generate power must be given permission to plug into the grid and should be receiving credit for the energy they are feeding into it. Already the way that customers are using and interacting with the grid is changing, and more change is going to come. This means that we must also change the way that the grid is operated and regulated, including the way customers access and feed into the grid, and how they pay for energy supply. 

 

The hurdle of getting credit for supplying surplus power back into the grid should be removed. Apart from that, subsidy on solar panels should continue be given or increased, to encourage more people to explore renewable options. For a closer look at how the Grid of the Future could work and the various innovations and initiatives we are doing here at Enova, click here.

 

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5. Perform an energy audit

An energy audit is a process that helps you to identify the areas where your home or office is losing energy and what steps you can take to improve energy efficiency.

 

Energy audits and generally being more mindful of your energy usage can help you to reduce your carbon footprint, save energy and money, and helping to prevent further impact on the energy crisis.

 

 

6. Common stand on climate change

Both developed and developing countries should adopt a common stand on climate change. They should focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through an effective cross border mechanism.

 

With current population growth and overconsumption of resources, the consequences of global warming and climate change cannot be ruled out. Both developed and developing countries must focus on emissions cuts to halve their emissions from current levels by 2050.

 

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We hope you found this introduction to the energy crisis helpful. Learn more about the Australian energy crisis in particular in this blog

 

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