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David Fickling

The Power Crunch Just Made Renewables Stronger

Fundamental cost benefits, more than the earnest promises of executives, ultimately will drive the energy transition.

Hard wired for change.

Hard wired for change.

Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg

A few months ago, it looked like a cascading global power crunch was about to turn back the tide of the energy transition.

In China, shortages of coal drove prices of solid fuel to 1,908.20 yuan per metric ton ($299.29), leading to power cuts and industrial shutdowns as generators refused to sell fixed-tariff power at a loss. In Europe, the great sucking sound as coal-starved Asian grids vacuumed up liquefied natural gas combined with weak supplies from Russia and the Netherlands to send gas prices soaring. They’ve now hit 146.93 euros ($165.74) per megawatt hour, more than six times their level at the start of the year.