Electricity shortages can paralyse our modern economies. All governments fear rolling black-outs and their economic consequences, especially in economies increasingly based on digital technologies. Over the last two decades, the development of markets for power has produced cost reduction, technological innovation, increased cross border trade and assured a steady supply of electricity. Now, IEA countries face the challenge of maintaining security of electricity supply during the transition to low-carbon economies.
Low-carbon policies are pushing electricity markets into novel territories at a time when most of the generation and network capacity will have to be replaced. Most notably, wind and solar generation, now an integral part of electricity markets, can present new operating and investment challenges for generation, networks and the regional integration of electricity markets. In addition, the resilience of power systems facing more frequent natural disasters is also of increasing concern.
IEA Ministers mandated the Secretariat to work on the Electricity Security Action Plan (ESAP), expanding to electricity the energy security mission of the IEA. This paper outlines the key conclusions and policy recommendations to “keep the lights on” while reducing CO2 emissions and increasing the efficiency.