LONDON — Much of the world is suffering a punishing energy crisis.
Homes and factories across China are shrouded in darkness. India’s coal-fired power stations are running on scraps. Dozens of British utilities firms have gone bust. Spain announced emergency legislation after household utility bills shot up more than a third in one year. And there are fears that a harsh winter in the United States could deliver Americans’ most expensive heating costs in years.
Energy shortages are sweeping the world even before winter’s cruelest months freeze the Northern Hemisphere, and officials and experts point out that the multiple issues behind the crunch will make solutions harder to come by.
This cocktail of causes is a mix of bad weather, China trying to kick its addiction to dirty coal and even allegations that Russia is throttling the natural gas market for political gain. But most experts agree the central driving force has been the Covid-19 rebound. Stirring out of lockdowns, people are simply consuming energy faster than production can be rekindled after a year of idling.
“It’s like a car that’s been taken off the road for a while and now we want to restart it quickly — it takes time,” said Jianzhong Wu, a professor specializing in energy infrastructure at Wales’ Cardiff University.
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