There is an interesting natural experiment underway in Venezuela.
The Venezuelan grid is unable to keep up with demand and electricity shortages are starting to impact their economy.
The government is blaming a prolonged drought for reducing their hydro electricity capacity and have implemented a reduced work week for government workers and scheduled a 4 hour per day blackout to cut electricity consumption.
Informed skeptics have shown there is no drought and that the government is blaming drought to cover up inadequate grid maintenance and upgrades.
I suspect that the grid maintenance and upgrade problems are caused by low oil prices. Oil accounts for a third of Venezuela’s GDP, 80% of exports, and more than 50% of government revenue. Venezuela claims to have the largest oil reserves in the world but most of these reserves are expensive to extract and uneconomic when prices are low as they are today.
It is impossible to maintain complex things when you are broke.
So what we have here is a country that generates over 70% of its electricity from renewable hydroelectric dams, yet their grid is failing because they lack the funds to properly maintain it, because most of their wealth comes from fossil energy that is now uneconomic to produce.
Hydro electricity has the best return on energy invested of all renewable energies. Venezuela’s grid is therefore as good as renewables get and much better than a grid built with solar panels and wind turbines.
This supports my view that it is impossible to have today’s consumption and wealth with 100% renewable energy.
The global economy will be contracting soon due to depletion of non-renewable energy. Reliable electricity, including electricity from renewable sources, may be one of many casualties.
We would be wise to take control of the impending contraction and steer it in an optimal direction, rather than allowing a chaotic collapse to occur.
We need conservation, austerity, wealth gap reduction, and population reduction now.
Hyperinflation is the end game for a country that refuses to live within its means. Venezuela’s money printing is accelerating.
Hyperinflation destroys the wealth of a country’s middle class which makes them very angry.
Hyperinflation is the reason Hitler got into power and is one of the reasons I advocate conservation and austerity.
It would have been easier for Venezuela had they not allowed their population to grow by more than 6 times from 5 million in 1950 to over 33 million today.