Top 5 Energy Issues

This week we’re taking a look at the issues that are affecting the energy industry. Energy cannot be avoided. Almost, everything we do requires it and without we would be stuck. This important element of our society is increasingly becoming a debated topic. With rising (and falling) oil prices, increased greenhouse gas emissions; energy has never been more on our minds. So what are the issues we’re facing? In no particular order, five issues we’ve identified:

Oil Price Fluctuations

The price of oil is the most important indicator of the cost of energy. With so many influences and different opinions, there’s often no telling where the price of oil will go. This past year has seen prices drop by more than 50%, which very few thought was imaginable. That’s not to say that current prices are here to stay. Opinion is divided on how far, and when oil will rise and potentially even surpass the record highs.

Increased Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Governments around the world are starting to tackle the issues surrounding emissions and the link to climate change. As economies grow, so do their outputs of greenhouse gasses. China is by a long stretch the largest overall emitter of CO2 emissions, but on a per-capita basis, the US is still a bigger polluter. With various schemes in place to curtail and reduce emissions, this area is certainly one to watch.

Energy Shortfalls

With our ever growing desire for energy and electricity in particular, we need to ensure that there’s enough capacity to supply our demand. Many power plants that are currently in operation are reaching the end of their lifespan. This is particularly true for many nuclear power plants. Built in an era when the technology was more widely accepted, there are not as many new nuclear plants scheduled to come online to replace the ones that are being decommissioned. With all of this comes the risk that supply will fall short of demand.

Renewable Energy

Renewables are certainly an up-and-coming industry. Wind and Solar are the two main technologies that are helping to power our future. With these increases also come a new set of challenges. Our power grids were designed for central generation to be distributed among the end users. Now what we are seeing is an increase in Distributed Generation where local users are putting energy back into the grid. Systems need to be adapted and developed to be able to handle this and ensure that there are no interruptions in supply.

Electric Vehicles

The cars we drive are set to change. Most major auto manufacturers have hybrid, or electric-only vehicles in production, or in the design stages. With Tesla and Mercedes Benz announcing home energy storage devices, we’re seeing car manufacturers becoming increasingly integrated into the overall energy industry. Issues that have surrounded Electric Vehicles are increasingly being solved and it won’t be long until we see more and more EVs and infrastructure.

There’s so much that can be said about all of these topics, and this list could go on and on. One thing is for sure, energy is what makes the world go round.