While Japan’s situation is different to that in the UK, it may prove to be a harbinger of electricity rationing in this country during the winter peak in demand for energy as the global crisis continues.
The UK Government has already drawn up plans for rationing, which could result in power curbs for millions of homes lasting several weeks. We may hope it never happens but it is eminently sensible to plan for the worst. In this troubled world, conserving energy is becoming increasingly important.
But that is perhaps no bad thing.
As consumers, it is obviously good for our bank balances or, more accurately, less bad for them, given the extraordinary surge in prices.
But it is also good for the fight against climate change. Using less energy derived from fossil fuels means greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced or, more accurately on a global scale, rise less rapidly.
And it is also, very slightly, good for our consciences, given that buying energy feeds into the price of oil and gas, globally traded commodities that prop up tyrannical regimes from Vladimir Putin’s Russia to Saudi Arabia and Iran.
So renewable energy – currently helping to keep prices lower than they would otherwise have been – is clean in more ways than one. And conservation of energy is a political imperative.