The blackout of capitalism – Then24
In recent months, the rise in the price of electricity has (or should) disgust our country. Something that is usually not very well explained. On the other hand, they scare our bodies for possible blackouts in much of Europe, which is also not clarified better in the mainstream media.
This subject seems simple at first glance: it is mainly due to the increase in the price of gas. In Spain the marginal system is used, this means that the electricity (kWh produced) is paid at the price of the most expensive kWh. The most expensive way to generate electricity happens to be in combined cycle power plants (which use gas), and the price of gas has skyrocketed lately due to its scarcity as a raw material. Unfortunately, this system was set up by European regulations, so our country alone does not have the possibility to change it.
The thing about blackouts is quite interesting, but you have to remember something from the physics we studied in school. It is explained, among other things, by the need to maintain the perfect synchronization of all the systems that produce electricity. Antonio Turiel explains it in this interview. It seems to be clear that we are facing an energy crisis and a scarcity of natural resources where the massive deployment of renewable energies is sold to us as the magic solution. But beware! We need to ask ourselves if this is all we can do as a society and as consumers.
Eventually (by obligation) 100% of the energy will be clean, but what does this 100% represent? The current consumption of sources fundamentally of fossil origin cannot be replaced by other renewable energies. This transition will be difficult, the only way out is to consume less energy than today, that is to say, we will need less to live.
We have researchers in our country who have been working on these issues for a long time. For example, according to the Energy, Economics and System Dynamics Group (geeds) from the University of Valladolid, there is a maximum (whether hydraulic, wind, solar…) that can be captured on Earth. They feel that Only 25% of current primary energy consumption could be supplied by leveraging solar power globally. And by using all renewable energy, reach up to 40%.
A system based on renewable energies is incompatible with capitalism
The question is whether our society can live on 40% of the energy we currently have. It seems obvious that it is not possible to maintain a social and economic system equal to the current one based 100% on own sources, perhaps this is the reason why the total transition to these does not did not take place. A system based on them is incompatible with capitalism.
As long as there have been cheap fossil fuels for the whole world, we have cheated the system, but since we now lack these easy and cheap options (the peak of conventional oil extraction came in 2005; in 2015, we reached the peak of diesel production; and gas should arrive before 2030), we look at renewable energies like crazy because we have no other alternative.
With this panorama, the most sensible thing would be to be able to live with less energy. It is not a question of living less well, but of rethinking our consumption strategies. At this point, we come up against the demand for economic growth year after year, but at what cost?
According to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the optimal annual economic growth would be 3% to maintain our current pace of life, but the size of the world economy would double in just 24 years. There is no finite planet that can absorb this growth, with the associated ecological footprint and environmental impact (the climate crisis can no longer be hidden).
How to explain at Spain Sustainability Report 2021 Indefinite economic growth and ecological sustainability are impossible at the same time, since socio-economic processes always interact within the biosphere and the physical reality of the Earth. We should not expect advances in technology and science to solve the problem caused by indefinite growth because we can never go against the laws of physics and the second law of thermodynamics. . Luck.