As featured recently in Wired, Venezuela is in the midst of an energy crisis that is completely rocking the country and currently threatens economic and political stability. There simply is not enough power to keep the lights on. Although the U.S. is unlikely to experience an energy crisis of the magnitude that is decimating Venezuela, the situation there can serve as a lesson on the instability inherent in depending on renewable energy for a country’s main power source.
In Venezuela, the vast majority of the power needs for the country are supplied by a single dam. Given that the country is experiencing a drought unlike any in recent history, there are massive implications for power outages when there is not enough water in the dam to support the country’s hyrdo-power needs.
In analyzing the current situation in Venezuela, some experts like David Osio are now saying that no more than one quarter of a country’s energy needs should be fulfilled by renewable energy. They say the problem with renewable energy is that once the energy source is depleted, no matter the cause, there is no way to generate more of it. Also added Osio, depending on natural renewable resources for energy means that the country’s infrastructure must be built around those specific resources, which may be terribly inefficient and cost much more money than if power sources could be easily transported where and as they are needed throughout the country.