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The energy independence imperative in a volatile world [OpEd]

We are but to inform the complete scale of the financial harm, however we do know that the battle’s impression on energy costs and provide uncertainty is already right here. This “tax” on the world will in the end consequence in slower financial development and hovering lighting and heating prices. Food manufacturing will turn out to be extra expensive; so for the poorest it’s going to imply selecting between the fundamental requirements of consuming, heating and lighting.

All of this may be averted if it weren’t for the world’s reliance on fossil fuels equipped by a handful of volatile nations.

The results of energy shortage and value will increase will likely be felt all over the place, however will probably be skilled extra profoundly in Africa and all growing markets that lack entry to dependable, inexpensive energy. These markets are extremely reliant upon already high-cost fossil fuels like diesel and kerosene to energy their houses and companies.

Unfortunately, the individuals dwelling in the African, Asian and Latin American markets I’m referring to already pay amongst the best charges in the world for a painful, intermittent energy supply.

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Further, the individuals of those nations pays as much as 20% of their earnings in energy prices. We at the moment are asking them to pay exponentially extra in a world the place energy freedom introduced on by options to carbon-based energy sources are simply making an attempt to catch up. This is untenable.

As I write this, the benchmark value of Brent Crude is $102 versus roughly $80 as we entered 2022. It reached a peak of roughly $123 in March 2022. While a vital improve, this vastly masks the impression it has on growing markets.

In Nigeria, for instance, market diesel costs have elevated from N275 a litre in January to nearly N600 a litre right now, peaking at over N700. On my go to to Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, final month, I noticed lengthy strains at fuel stations that jogged my memory very a lot of the US fuel disaster of 1973, the place my dad and I’d sit for hours ready to replenish.

The individuals of Nigeria, extremely depending on diesel mills, already paying a vital share of their revenue in energy prices, simply noticed a two-to-three-fold improve in their energy payments. This backdrop is taking part in out throughout the globe, and impacting the individuals of the world that wouldn’t have the assets stand up to.

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We know that this can maintain for some time period. Announcements banning Russian oil and fuel – both now or in the close to future – are plentiful from the US, UK and EU. The EU is searching for to chop its heavy dependency on Russian fuel by 80% by winter this 12 months. We additionally know we are going to get via this episode, costs will stabilize, and sooner or later in the long run it’s going to all repeat itself.

It is essential to not ban fossil fuels. We could even have to turn out to be extra reliant upon them in the quick time period to handle via these extraordinary occasions. It is in the long run the place we should embrace the mix of renewables and distributed energy as a means to energy independence. Build resiliency in the world energy equipment and scale back our publicity to occasions such because the battle in the Ukraine.

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Of all the nice issues led to by distributed renewable energy together with value reductions via photo voltaic technology, lowered carbon emissions via the inclusion of renewables, it’s truly energy independence that the world so wants right now and tomorrow.

To be overly depending on one provider can be unwise, much more so if that provider is volatile and probably hostile. Conversely, a steadiness throughout varied energy sources, each domestically and internationally, is extra secure and predictable. A comparatively peaceable world, with out energy-threatening wars, permits financial development to raise the poorest out of poverty. But if wars can’t be averted, we must always a minimum of guarantee energy provides aren’t disrupted.

Seeking to unfold indigenous energy technology through renewables, was as soon as seen as the best way to fight future local weather change – now it may be considered moreover because the means to ship energy independence.

Written by Bill Lenihan, CEO of ZOLA Electric

*The views expressed in this text are the views of a contributor at Business Insider Africa. It doesn’t characterize the views of the organisation Business Insider Africa.

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