Energy Cuts in Asia

Katherine Cui, Reporter

In today’s world, coal is still an important source of energy for most countries. As coal shortages increase and coal regulation becomes more strict, many countries are suffering from energy shortages. These shortages have affected countries such as India and China, which cause trouble for surrounding areas. 


The power outages in China during late September and early October were caused by ambitious carbon goals and failed government policy regulation, according to the BBC. In early October, citizens of many different Chinese cities and provinces received warnings of power cuts. Later in the month, the temporary outages became more frequent and happened with little to no warning, disturbing daily lives and work. The same situation occurred in India in late July and early October, as the demand for energy sources exceeded the supply. After the second wave of COVID hit in late July, job opportunities increased and resulted in a greater need for coal – India’s main source of power. The shortage of coal resulted in small power shortages throughout India. 


This energy crisis affects many other parts of the world. Businesses in Japan are affected by the price surges of materials such as crude, as a result of the rising demand for energy. Gas prices in Europe have increased up to 14%, triggering factory shutdowns and power bill spikes. Of course, trouble for some countries can result in gain for others. Indonesia, the world’s top exporter of thermal coal, sold approximately 400 million tons of thermal coal in the past year, making it a 61.53% jump in exports from previous years. Coal and natural gas exports in Australia have also benefited the country, currently accounting for almost a quarter of all Australian exports. 


This crisis leads to questions about how to drive green investment and how to use this as a push to reduce climate risks. The global need for coal is reminiscent of the world’s dependence on fossil fuels and our vulnerability to factors such as climate change and destabilization of markets. This reminder could lead to faster renewable energy investment, which both the UN and IEA say is vital to the reversal of global warming.