European energy crisis: the perfect storm that many did not see coming to a city near us!


Perfect storm - European energy crisis


At the height of the 2008 financial crisis that came about out of the blue, Queen Elizabeth ||, the British Monarch, was reported to having asked some experts in the field, “Why no one saw this coming?” at an event in the aftermath of the disaster.

Of course, Her Majesty’s audience could not give a simple answer to an equally simple question. Nor the latter themselves knew what really went wrong, when the world had been led to believe the polar opposite – unstoppable global prosperity.

What we witness today in the European energy markets is no different: nobody knew this was coming about six months ago. Some may, in retrospect, point to their own past analyses to cash in on the dearth of severe, expert predictability in the energy markets at present.

It’s true in the last few weeks there were speculations about an impending gas crisis in Europe. Since they were, more often than not,  linked to the so-called ‘Russian manipulations’, they could not convince many sane people to accept the narrative; we do not know yet whether it was the case, although a Europe-wide investigation is underway to get to the bottom of it, if any.

If it was the case, as Her Majesty noted in 2008, why no one saw Russia was doing that on purpose?

At present, in the UK, there are queues around some petrol stations.

Although there are queues in local petrol stations where I live in West London, they are neither long nor unruly; as far as petrol station managers are concerned, they are manageable too. It may, however, not be the countrywide picture.

The only queues that we normally see in the UK are those that take place when there are traffic problems or accidents. In this context, the petrol queues are unique and bring in a sense of palpable apprehension.

After the Brexit, the European disunity is growing alarmingly and the leaders hardly see eye to eye on a catalogue of crucial issues, ranging from migrant problem to reining in assertive China; tackling the issue of source of gas, especially, when the winter is on the horizon in a few weeks’ time, is no different.

The lack of reliability in wind power that came to the fore recently simply exacerbated the energy situation in Europe; politicians cannot go back on their words, having championed about the merits of renewable energy for years; it’s politically suicidal.

“Winds will always be where it should be,” slogan does not hold true anymore in light of switching back to powering up coal power stations on static days when there are not enough winds.

Wind across oceans

Of course, winds will always be above the oceans. The fact is their absence where there are plenty of wind turbines to generate electricity for the national grid.

As we started slowly coming out of the pandemic, the looming energy crisis is adding yet another dimension to the existing problems.

The British government, meanwhile, says that there are enough petroleum stocks in the country and there is no need of panic buying. It, however, implies that there are not enough drivers to move trucks across the country by granting thousands of temporary visas for potential drivers.

There is no doubt that the Europeans ultimately will find a way around the crisis in order to solve it. However, why they did not use  the new-found wisdom in the first place in order to avert the debacle will not simply go away; it may haunt the decision makers as well as the renewable cause that they fought for so passionately - for years to come.

In light of these developments at ground level, the dream of embracing the renewable energy as the ideal substitute for fossil fuel is going to stay that way for decades to come - just a dream.







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