Electricity security

Electricity security is vital to well-functioning modern societies and economies. Digital technologies, communications infrastructure, and industrial operations all depend on a reliable and efficient supply of electricity. As countries transition to less carbon-intensive sources of electricity, system operators face a number of ongoing challenges, as renewables generally require a higher degree of flexibility from the network to compensate for their intermittency. As such, governments are increasingly concerned about the ability of existing markets and regulatory frameworks to continue providing a reliable, affordable, and efficient supply of electricity.

IEA research efforts

Re-Powering Markets

Published: 18 February 2016

Re-powering Markets is the first official publication in which the IEA analyses the market framework for low-carbon power systems. It discusses, for all relevant dimensions of electricity market design, the balance that policy makers must strike between supporting innovation and competition while mobilising capital for the deployment of low-carbon sources.

Electricity Security Across Borders

Published: 12 January 2017

The increasingly interconnected nature of power markets brings both opportunities and challenges. How to best integrate power systems across borders still remains a topic of ongoing discussion.

The three case studies presented in the Electricity Security report focus on how the European Union (EU) and its member states are working to improve electricity security across borders. These case studies look at how different regions overcome their challenges. In each case, key findings and lessons learned are highlighted.

IEA Advisory Efforts

The IEA Electricity Security Action Plan (ESAP) was endorsed by ministers from IEA Member countries at the 2011 Ministerial meeting. This work focused on electricity security challenges during the critical transition to low-carbon energy system.

In May 2015, the Group of Seven (G7) Energy Ministers asked the IEA to help determine the best means to improve electricity security, such as enhancing power system flexibility. One of the many avenues currently being examined is how best to integrate intermittent renewable energy sources into existing electricity grids while still guaranteeing a reliable and steady supply. The IEA has already undertaken extensive analysis of viable grid integration of significant amount of electricity from the renewable sources.

Initiated under Japan’s 2016 G7 Presidency, the IEA is also responsible for preparing analyses for the G7 on enhancing electricity security, which has generated broader dialogue on the issue.

At the IEA’s 2015 Ministerial meeting, Member countries embraced a new strategic vision to turn the IEA into a global clean energy technology hub.

Recent events

Third Annual Expert Workshop: Challenges in Electricity Decarbonisation  |  Optimising the Path to 2050, 18 October 2016

Meeting of the Third ESAP Plenary Meeting, 23 June 2016

Our work on Electricity