Power crisis: A go-slow luxury sign

Sep 26, 2022

The release of greenhouse gas emissions on firing mineral resources is now threatening all lives on earth. Coal deposits are depleting now. Mines are in neck-deep torrential rainwater. The depletion of resources means a cut in electricity generation. That eventually means a blow to the human craze for luxury.

The old generation always says we have to spend according to our income. If income is less, we need to reduce our expenses. It is applicable in every case. But now the world has changed. The new trend has it that we need to spend more to fuel GDP growth. Then only the cycle will move and fulfil the employment requirements. We always believe in experts, not oldies. Somehow we started spending more than our income, gradually landing up in trouble. As a result, we lose our peace of mind. It does not matter. For us, a lavish life is more necessary than Shanti.

What I mentioned applies to everything. When the long-time electricity load-shedding fell, we believed that the power crisis in India was over. As we stepped on the track of being a developed economy after presuming that the power crisis would not repeat, we lost in our calculation. The people who could bear higher electricity bills started consuming more. The power generators would naturally encourage increased usage. However, we forgot one thing; the mineral deposits we use for firing the power plant would once deplete.

Today’s is the world of the consumers. Our world wants only consumers. We must remember, power generators are not generating power but converting the energy model. The raw material comes from the pack of natural resources.

Now, most of the countries are concerned only about GDP. Whether we are happy or unhappy doesn’t matter. Many countries are already in the dark. Portugal has been through darker days.

India may slip into a black-out or face a long-term load-shedding. States like Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and others are planning a load shedding. At the same time, the Union government denies such a possibility. There are reports that our coal stocks for producing electricity may last only for a few days. Incidentally, 71% of our energy combination comes from a thermal source. The over-dependence on thermal sources warns us of a crisis that India may face. India is the largest coal consumer after China. In Maharashtra, 13 units have already shut their works due to the shortage of coal. For this reason, coal-fired power plants are running at a reduced capacity elsewhere also.

There are multiple reasons for the shortage. Persistent unseasonal heavy rains in coal mine areas have flooded the sites. The second reason is the steep price hike from around ₹ 6,000 to over ₹8,775 per tonne in a year. The second reason is attributable to the consequences of the pandemic. It seemed the government did not realise the excessive domestic consumption of energy after the lockdown. It increased from 106.6 BU a month in 2019 to 124.2 BU a month in 2021. Home consumption will only increase in the coming months if supply is available.

In 1831 the English scientist Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction that led to the development of electric transformers and generators. In 1879, Thomas Alva Edison made the first electric incandescent light that later became a revolution in the world. In the same year, India saw the display of electric light. However, it started first in Mumbai in 1905. Like any other new technology in those days, Britain brought the electric light to India – in Mumbai, Calcutta and hill stations like Mussoorie, where those people had spent their summer vacations. Today the world is trying hard to reduce fossil fuels. The United States shifted more into natural gas called shale gas. It is meeting almost 40% of its energy needs from natural gas and 19 % from coal.

It is surprising; more than a century-old technology overruled humankind. Today, we can’t imagine a world without electricity. No human activity can progress without it. From human mobility to hospital functioning, internet activities and farming, everything depends on the electricity supply. It is another example of our foolishness – depending on something which man invented.

We have damaged the natural resources for luxury. Our demands are never-ending. What we felt being inexhaustible is now depleting fast due to our mishandling and lavish usage. The population boom in recent years stretched the extraction of mineral deposits as we began to consume more energy.

For us, everything is business. Governments are ready to hand over all resources to corporate establishments. For them, development is a corporate duty. That is a wrong notion. Everyone born on earth has an equal right to everything available on earth. Fortunately, animals have no interest in this wealth, thanks to them. Otherwise, we would have been under compulsion to eradicate them.

No doubt, the government will have to make a solution for the current crisis. As elections in big States are nearing, the government may not take any risk. It will be good if there is an election every six months instead of a one-India one-election. Let us remember one thing; we haven’t found a shoulder of politicians and bureaucrats for any of our problems. They trade blame on each other.

We are blind to luxury and facilities. These things entered into our lives in recent times. But we never realised that these would not remain ever in our life. So we haven’t seen the signboards of the danger zone. We are nearing it now. When we got freedom from Britain, we thought we would continue to depend on the colonial masters for many things. Soon we have realised we are getting into the colonial trap.

In 1947, our electricity consumption was a mere 16.3 units. Now it is 1208 units. Here we can understand that commercial activities absorb a substantial portion of the consumption, which determines the nation’s GDP and job creation. If electricity or fossil fuel sources deplete, the complete human life will stop. Possibly many people will die. Earlier, the US was controlling the world for energy, for which it depended on other countries. In this, it played a double tactic – a love and hate strategy. Now it has developed shale energy. So there is less love and war.

For most of our luxuries, we depend on other countries. We are importing coal from Australia and oil from Arab countries. Most of the carmakers are non-Indian companies, like mobile and aircraft. We are still selling our agricultural products to other countries and buying luxury products from them. I know the generation which has seen only these facilities defiantly questioning me ”Then what we should? For them, I have only one question. Once all these facilities disappear, what will you do? I am afraid the current generation will be in big trouble.

Finally, in India and all over the world, the energy demand reached its peak. We do not have enough sources to fulfil the energy demand. It will create a tragedy. Better we abstain from avoidable luxuries which cannot make a big difference in our day-to-day life.