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UK News Germany, China and India join UK in facing energy crisis over gas, oil and coal shortages and soaring prices

01:15  12 october  2021
01:15  12 october  2021 Source:   msn.com

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This winter, millions of homes around the world will be faced with little to no power as energy such as coal, gas and oil are in alarmingly low supply.

  Germany, China and India join UK in facing energy crisis over gas, oil and coal shortages and soaring prices © Provided by The i

The continuing crisis in the UK has left some energy companies going bust and homes and businesses struggling to pay soaring costs and bills.

China is rationing electricity in some areas – a measure already seen in India, where the situation could become worse as the country’s power plants are close to running out of coal.

The global coal shortage has also led to a power plant in Germany to shut.

  Germany, China and India join UK in facing energy crisis over gas, oil and coal shortages and soaring prices © Provided by The i

The power crunch is threatening supply chains and raising questions about whether the move to renewable energy should happen sooner. Here are some of the countries and regions facing challenges with powering homes and warning of blackouts.

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Europe

European governments are scrambling for solutions to protect households from steeper energy bills ahead of winter.

Wholesale European gas prices have increased by more than 500 per cent this year as tight gas supplies have struggled to cope with high demand as the world’s economies recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The crisis is also partly caused by “weather-related events, glitches at gas production plants across the world, and speculative trading on the EU’s emissions market”, according to American think tank the Atlantic Council.

Many EU countries are planning market interventions, ranging from subsidies to price caps, to shield citizens from rising costs.

The issue will top the agenda of the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels next week.

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UK

Around 40 to 45 per cent of electricity in the UK is generated by natural gas, the vast majority of which is imported from Norway.

The rise in gas prices has caused a number of smaller energy companies to go out of business, including Avro, Green, Igloo, Utility Point, People’s Energy, PfP Energy and MoneyPlus Energy.

Some suppliers have stopped selling fixed-rate energy deals –  which are usually cheaper than default plans – and taking other measures to dissuade customers from switching to their services.

Empty fuel pumps at an Esso petrol station in Maidstone, Kent (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) © Provided by The i Empty fuel pumps at an Esso petrol station in Maidstone, Kent (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Government ministers are facing calls by industry bosses to take “immediate action” in a bid to stop firms going under.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng held talks with industry leaders last week, and ministers and officials are set to continue speaking with businesses on Monday and throughout the week.

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However the Government has brokered a deal with the carbon dioxide (CO2) industry to ensure supplies continue to be available, after the rising price of gas forced a major CO2 producer, CF Fertilisers, to shut down its two UK plants last month.

Meanwhile the country has had to deal with the petrol crisis, with drivers queueing for hours at the pumps, with many petrol stations running out of fuel for customers.

Germany

The Bergkamen-A power station in western Germany was forced to close down last week after it ran out of coal.

Read More - Featured Image © Provided by The i Read More - Featured Image

Daniel Mühlenfeld, a spokesman for energy company Steag, which runs the plant, said the strong demand for coal and for transport by barge had led to the closure, telling Bloomberg that since the plant has no rail connection “there are no logistical alternatives available here”.

The reliance on conventional electricity has also increased in Germany as wind output fell this year, leading to the turbines underperforming.

About 43 per cent of Germany’s power consumption was from renewable energy between January and September, a decrease from 48 per cent a year earlier.

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India

A lack of coal has caused a supply shortage in some eastern and northern states in India, with homes and businesses in the affected areas experiencing power cuts stretching to up to 14 hours a day.

More than half of India’s 135 coal-fired power plants, which supply about 70 per cent of the country’s electricity, are running out of fuel and only have around three days’ worth of stock left.

Workers drill at an open-cast coal field in Dhanbad district in the eastern state of Jharkhand in India (Photo: Ahmad Masood/Reuters) © Provided by The i Workers drill at an open-cast coal field in Dhanbad district in the eastern state of Jharkhand in India (Photo: Ahmad Masood/Reuters)

Indian electric utility company Tata Power reportedly sent text messages to customers in northern Delhi on Saturday warning supply would be at a “critical level” that day due to limited coal availability, and urged them to be “responsible citizens” and use electricity “judicially”.

The company responded to a number of complaints by consumers who aired their frustration on Twitter over the weekend.

“There have been repeated episodes of power cut over past four days,” said one Twitter user on Sunday, while another on Monday wrote: “Powercut in my area was announced for 9.30am to 2.30pm. It is 4pm now still nothing.”

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to the federal government to divert supplies of coal and gas to utilities supplying the Indian capital.

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“Delhi could face a power crisis,” he tweeted on Saturday, sharing a copy of a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagging a shortage of fuel in power plants in and around Delhi.

China

The energy crisis gripping the world’s second largest economy and top exporter is expected to last until the end of the year due to coal shortages.

The north-eastern province of Liaoning warned of worsening power shortages on Monday, despite government efforts to boost coal supply and manage electricity use.

The province has been hit by widespread power cuts since mid-September, leaving hundreds of thousands of households without electricity and forcing industries to suspend production, after rationing was implemented during peak hours in many parts of north-eastern China.

A coal-fired power plant in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China (Photo: Tingshu Wang/Reuters) © Provided by The i A coal-fired power plant in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China (Photo: Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Chinese firms around the country, producing a range of materials and goods, from aluminium and chemicals to dyes and furniture, have said their production has been disrupted by the power curbs.

In Guangdong, China’s most populous province, people are banned from using elevators in office buildings above three floors and are being encouraged to use natural light, according to the Washington Post.

Heavy rain has also exacerbated the crisis after about 60 mines in China’s largest coal-mining province, Shanxi – which has produced 30 per cent of the country’s supply of the fuel so far this year – closed since Friday due to flooding.

Vice-premier Han Zheng said China will “strictly control” coal-fired power generation projects and “strictly limit” the increase in coal consumption over the next five years.

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