Modern societies are becoming increasing dependent on reliable and secure electricity supplies to underpin economic growth and community prosperity. This reliance is set to grow as more efficient and less carbon intensive forms of power are developed and deployed to help decarbonise economies. Maintaining reliable and secure electricity services while seeking to rapidly decarbonise power systems is a key challenge for countries throughout the world.
IEA analysis indicates that the large-scale deployment of renewables needed to meet decarbonisation goals is technically feasible. However, the inherent variability of these power sources will lead to less predicable power flows. Greater flexibility of power systems will therefore be needed if large-scale deployment of variable renewable generation, such as solar photovoltaic, wind and tidal energy, is to go-ahead without jeopardising electricity security. Well functioning electricity markets have a crucial role to play in helping to deliver greater flexibility, and to attract the investment needed to achieve decarbonisation and electricity security goals. At the October 2011 IEA Ministerial meeting member countries endorsed the IEA Electricity Security Action Plan as a major new initiative to help address these challenges. Key IEA activities outlined in this plan include: