Electricity security

Electricity security is vital to well-functioning, modern economies. Digital technologies, communication infrastructures and industrial processes all depend on reliable and efficient electricity systems. However, these systems face a number of ongoing challenges as countries transition to low-carbon electricity. Governments are increasingly concerned about the security of electricity supply. Specifically, they question the ability of existing market design and regulatory frameworks to continue to deliver reliable and efficient electricity supply in a timely manner.

Electricity Security Across Borders

Published: 12 January 2017

The issue of electricity security is only becoming more pressing as jurisdictions seek to decarbonise their power sectors. The increasingly interconnected nature of power markets brings both opportunities to more effectively manage this transition and the challenges that come from increased interdependency. How best to integrate power systems across borders, though, remains a topic of ongoing discussion.

The three case studies presented in this 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 the challenges the region faces, some of the ways it has been working to overcome these challenges, and some of the reasons why certain challenges remain unaddressed.  In each case, key findings and lessons learned are highlighted.

Electricity Security Action Plan

The IEA “Electricity Security Action Plan” (ESAP) was endorsed by ministers from IEA member countries at the 2011 Ministerial meeting. In line with similar challenges in many IEA member countries, this work has focused primarily on electricity security challenges during the critical transition to a low-carbon energy system.

Beginning under Japan’s 2016 Group of Seven (G7) Presidency, the IEA is also responsible for preparing analyses for the G7 on enhancing electricity security, which will lead to broader G7 dialogue on the issue

Electricity Security Advisory Panel

In May 2015, the Group of Seven (G7) Energy Ministers asked the IEA to help determine the best means of improving electricity security, including through increasing system flexibility. Among the many avenues that the Agency is examining for the G7 is how to better incorporate intermittent renewable energy into electricity grids to guarantee a reliable and steady supply. The IEA has already undertaken extensive analysis of viable grid integration of significant shares of electricity whose generation varies based on sunshine and winds.

Advisory Panel Meetings & Workshops

Our work on Electricity