Have you dealt with an unexpected blackout? Lost power thanks to some mysterious problem with your utility company’s power lines? Not been prepared to pay the higher electricity bill after working from home during the pandemic? When the future is uncertain, having energy security is more important than ever.
What is Energy Security?
Similar to food security, the higher your energy security, the better access you have to affordable and reliable sources of energy. If you’re a country with surplus energy, you’re considered energy secure, but if you’re a country with a deficit in energy, you suffer from energy insecurity. Your electronics, appliances, cars, and so on that need power to work all depend on your ability to provide it. This matters a lot more in countries like the United States, where most of our day-to-day life depends on everyone having energy security solutions.
Think about gas prices now compared to last year. For one gallon of Regular at this time of year, on average in Arizona the cost in 2020 was $2.260, while in 2021 it’s $3.405. This has lowered energy security for many people, as they no longer have the resources to be able to power their vehicles. When it’s harder to get around, it’s harder to make it to your job, and therefore to be able to pay for the electricity to power your home. Not everyone’s situations will dramatically decline so quickly, but no one should have to worry about such deprivation at all.
Winter is Coming
The approach of winter has put extra pressure on energy supplies, meaning decisions need to be made right away rather than being put off until later. People are now vulnerable to high energy prices, and if they weren’t dependent on natural gas and other fossil fuels, their energy bills would currently be much lower. Renewable energy prices have been consistently low in comparison.
How can you prepare for energy insecurity so that you and anyone who depends on you isn’t left devastated in case of an emergency? A great place to start is by having your own source of energy. Better safe than sorry when it comes to providing your home and vehicles with power.
There are several types of renewable energy that can work to provide power for the masses. Wind, solar, hydro, and more are so important compared to fossil fuels because they won’t have the same scarcity, meaning they also won’t have the same sudden price hikes. Governments and businesses alike are working to make these options more widely available so that the energy market can run more smoothly. They need to make sure that the path is cleared so that spikes in energy prices are minimized, decreasing the hurtful impact on the poorest in society. Many large organizations are planning out how best to transition the world to renewable energy so that energy poverty can be reduced.
The easiest for individuals to start with is, of course, solar power. Residential solar arrays plus storage batteries are much more attainable these days than they were even a few years ago. And this way, you know that if anything happens with your utility company, you’re still going to be okay off the grid, with backup energy storage to boot. While it might not be financially doable right away, if you also get an electric vehicle and charging station, you’ll be able to power that too – so both your home and transportation will be covered.
It’s unlikely the world will immediately turn into an extreme situation with everyone fighting for gas and other resources like they’re in Mad Max. However, we might not be that far off, either. With the way things are going, we’ll end up there soon enough. But if we create laws and policies that cause us to be more sparse in our use of fossil fuels, well, everyone will be better off.
Since it can be overwhelming just waiting for sweeping change, solar really is the way to go. There are plenty of benefits even beyond what’s been mentioned above. The best part is that while you’ll be prepared for the worst, you’ll also get benefits in the here and now, without things going wrong. Plus, even if the energy utility company’s performance ends up always perfect for the rest of time (unlikely), you’ll still be gaining a useful tool. A solar array will save you money on your electricity bill in the best of times, while keeping you prepared for the worst of times.
While the specifics of energy security can shift definitions depending on who you are, one thing is consistent: it’s necessary to have access to the amount of energy you need at affordable prices. This means that there shouldn’t be any disruptions, either. Alternative sources of energy should be available right away if something happens to the original connection. If you could guarantee access to power from wind or hydro energy, that would be wonderful. But currently, the best way to ensure your household doesn’t go without power is to install a full solar array. Make sure you’re fully prepped and energy secure by using the endless gift of renewable energy.