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Electricity security

Vital to well-functioning modern societies and economies

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.

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.