Forbes and the Wall Street Journal go even further, resurrecting the term “energy crisis” from the 1970s. The media is in a state of hyperventilation. But what exactly is going on? It’s what I’d call the clean energy transition’s first Fossil Fuels collapse or even proof that cleaner and faster energy is also cheaper and more stable. That’s in contrast to the Economist subhead, which promotes the notion that the shift to clean energy is fraught with difficulties.
What proof do we have? First, renewable wind and solar raised their contribution to global energy supply by an unprecedented 8% in 2021, generating 8,300 TeraWatt hours (TWh) of pure, low-cost energy. Despite weak winds in parts of Europe, global wind generation increased by 17%. In the first year after the epidemic, renewable energy provided 30 percent of the world’s electrons.
Energy price surges are mostly the product of market manipulation, impeding a proper reaction to the pandemic’s rapid economic recovery. This is a play we’ve seen before. Following the financial crisis of 2008, a similar series of price increases occurred: Oil prices increased by 68 percent, seaborne coal by 88 percent, and natural gas prices in the United States increased by 33 percent. Volatile pricing that swings substantially up and down is typical for Fossil Fuels.