"Perfect Storm" - Global Energy Crisis Spreads To Brazil And India

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Oct 04, 2021 - 10:40 PM

The global energy crisis plagues Europe and China and risks spreading to emerging market economies. 

According to Bloomberg, severe droughts in Brazil have led to a collapse in hydroelectric generation and could force the South American country to ration power if power imports from Uruguay and Argentina aren't increased. 

Brazil is South America's largest economy. It derives 60% of its power from hydroelectric sources, but La Nina has produced drought this year and dwindled water levels at reservoirs, making hydro less dependable.

Brazil, in many ways, has been ahead of the decarbonization of its power grid. When it comes to the energy transition, countries worldwide begin to embark on but discover that renewable power is not sustainable. Bear Traps Report's Larry McDonald recently opinioned in his note to clients that the ESG push for power grids is contributing to the global energy crisis. 

To mitigate a power grid collapse, the South American country is in the process of firing up natural gas generators to compensate for the loss of hydroelectric power. This would force the government to compete in a tight global natgas market that could raise prices higher. 

"Brazil's hydroelectric reservoirs in the southeast and central west, which represent almost three-fourths of the country's installed capacity, have fallen to 17% amid the worst drought in 91 years," Bloomberg said. 

Earlier this year, the La Nina weather pattern brought drought to Brazil but plenty of water to north-eastern South America that filled up dams in Colombia to historically high levels. Another round of La Nina, which the U.S. Climate Prediction Center said has a 70% chance of forming this fall/winter, could delay the rainy season in Brazil and trigger power disruptions that would have drastic economic impacts. 

On the other side of the world, India faces a power crisis for different reasons than Brazil. The country's 135 thermal power plants are experiencing extremely low coal supplies, from 13 days of supplies just a few weeks ago to only four days this past Friday, according to FT

"The [Indian] power sector is facing a kind of perfect storm," said Aurodeep Nandi, India economist at Nomura Financial Advisory and Securities. "You are caught in a situation where demand is high, your supply is low from the domestic side, and you haven't restocked on inventories by importing."

If supplies aren't replenished in time, India may have to slash power to energy-intensive businesses and residential properties, which is exactly what's happening in China at the moment

Now that the global energy crisis is spreading across the world, first in Europe and Asia and now spreading to parts of South America and India, for all different reasons. The next phase of the crisis is for governments beginning to panic hoard supplies. China is already doing this.