ECN publication
Energy services security: concepts and metrics
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Policy Studies 30-11-2009
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-E--09-080 ECN publication
Number of pages: Full text:
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This paper considers the notion of what is commonly referred to as ‘energy security’. Typically, in analyses of this problem area, the supply side attracts most if not all of the spotlight. Yet this paper argues that point of embarkation for in-depth analysis should be the demand for energy services and advocates re-labeling the problem area as ‘energy services security’. Key questions on the demand side to be addressed first include:

  • Which factors drive demand for a specific category of energy services?
  • Can their demand be reduced without socio-economic loss, e.g. through change of consumption preferences and behavioural change regarding ‘good housekeeping’ economic actors?
Subsequently, key questions on the supply side will have to be addressed, such as:
  • Can their demand be met in more fuel- and/or electricity-efficient ways, considering both more energy-efficient transport and conversion technology in relevant supply chains as well as switch to more efficient fuels/electricity?
  • How can the physical reliability of procurement of the energy services concerned be enhanced? This is predominantly a short-term aspect.
  • How can the delivery security be enhanced, among others in terms of affordable prices in terms of price trend of the services concerned and price volatility? This is a predominantly mid-term / long-term aspect.
The paper develops a theoretical frame for analysis of energy supply security to assess the resilience of society to absorb adverse (potential) trends and events regarding delivery of energy services. It identifies indicators for each of the framework’s main components. Finally, a preliminary analysis is made under which circumstances introduction or expansion of nuclear energy in a country’s energy supply system can make a positive contribution towards enhancing energy services security.

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