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Our winter energy crisis

The predictions of the last year, on an imminent energy crisis, are now facts. The increase of the energy needs due to heating and lighting in the winter of 2022 introduces important difficulties. In addition, tensions in the East have brought changes in the European gas import. But the roots of the crisis are much deeper. Rather, they come from the insufficient preparation of the energy systems for major changes. In the context of the urgency of the measures to prevent climate change, it is absolutely necessary to reduce carbon emissions to zero. Electricity is extremely important in the decarbonization process, being the second contributor to the emissions (27% of the total, after the production of steel, cement, and plastic which represents 31%). Moreover, the decarbonization of electricity will profoundly influence whole the production sector, as well as the heating sector. On the other hand, electricity is a vital element of modern civilization. To solve the problem is absolutely necessary the shifting to green energy. This is abundant, but the capturing requires extensive measures. Both solar and wind energy are diffused, requiring large areas and significant amounts of material. Even though the price has dropped impressively, the pace needed to eliminate fossil fuels is hard to be supported in a due time. Moreover, due to the intermittent production, a production capacity of 2-3 times higher is needed. Even in such circumstances the daily energy requirements cannot be satisfied without storage or without gas units due to the consumption in peak hours. Here is one of the fundamental sources of the crisis, the divergence between desires and immediate possibilities for the implementation. For this reason, we need more time to achieve a robust balance. Surely, we can build a world with low emissions, but in a longer time. However, what can we do immediately? Many things, perhaps the most important thing is to use resources more wisely, including the energy. A more reasonable consumption of energy and products, less waste them. And certainly, more innovation. We can develop more efficient technologies. Step by step, with a large participation of all minds.

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