What is the meaning of Energy Security?
The meaning of “energy security” refers to the capacity of a country for ensuring an adequate, affordable, and continuous supply of energy for consistent and uninterrupted use of energy by domestic users, and military as well as industrial purposes. Energy security further relates to present and future requirements of energy and ensure that energy deficiency never takes place for the consumers despite critical situations such as political instability and economic crisis.
Among the various available types or forms of energies such as solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, hydrogen energy, biomass energy, tidal energy, wave energy, etc. the hydroelectric energy and fossil fuel energy comprising coal, oil and natural gas play important role in the day-to-day functioning of people and are extremely essential in terms of energy security in the contemporary period.
The nuclear energy is also considered identical by many countries but the safety of using nuclear energy is still a subject of debate particularly in the context of enormous waste it produces and the issues of appropriate disposal of nuclear waste.
The concept and issues of energy security are generally discussed paring with the concept of energy dependency. Energy dependency refers to the calculation of the proportion of consumption of energy leading to a dependency on imported energy.
Eventually, the countries that consume low energy and have low energy dependency have the possibility of achieving energy security. Russia and Canada are counted as energy secured countries because they have surplus energy whereas the USA suffers energy insecurity. However, the largest producers of non-renewable energy in the world are Russia, China, and the USA.
The nations with energy deficit ultimately face the consequences of inadequate energy supply for domestic and industrial use as well as lack enough energy on military purposes. This eventually leads to vulnerability in terms of spending a lot of revenue for energy imports. Energy insecurity also impacts other segments such as health, education, agriculture, and the development of a nation, leading to instability and chaos among its citizens.
Factors responsible for energy insecurity
The following are some of the basic factors responsible for energy insecurity:
- Lack of or less availability of energy supply.
- Poor economy leading to reduced demand for energy.
- Shortage of energy in the global market affecting imports.
- Government regulations and the bilateral relationship.
- The political instability of energy-producing countries.
- Attack on energy supply infrastructures.
- Natural disasters and terrorism.
As per various systematic researches and studies, statistics reveal that the contemporary use of energy in the world is three times more than the production or supply of energy leading to chaos among the consumers and conflicts between countries. Numerous efforts have been on the wheels to find out appropriate ways and alternatives to address the issues of energy insecurity, and the following are some of the possible measures to effectively promote energy security:
- Initiating collaborative and progressive joint ventures with energy-producing countries.
- Build and strengthen strategic energy stock.
- Improve the efficiency of the domestic energy market and promote judicious energy consumption.
- In the cases of severe energy deficiency and crisis, admitting the crisis and working on the alternatives to address the issue.
- Exploring renewable energy sources.
- Reducing the overuse of energy and promote reuse and recycling measures.
- Promoting energy-efficient products and emphasizing clean energy.
What are the effects of Energy Insecurity on local communities and how they perceive Energy Security?
Energy is one of the most essential elements for the survival of local communities and has both positive and negative impacts on society. Every individual member of the local communities would welcome the idea of access to adequate, secure, affordable, and safe energy supply since it has positive impacts and abundant benefits for the local communities as well as for the nation.
On the other hand, extraction of energy, transportation as well as the use of energy often results in negative consequences on the environment especially the local environment, local economy, and health of the local community. Eventually, besides national security, the positive impacts of energy security on the local communities are:
- Economic security.
- Environmental security in terms of quality of life both of human beings and other organisms.
- Social security basically about fossil fuel supplies.
- Impact on quality of life including health, education, gender equality, and partnership.
Similarly, the negative impacts of energy security especially the extraction of energy, transportation and use of energy on the local communities often lead to local and political pressure to withdraw the projects that are responsible for energy supply. Eventually, the local communities often perceive the energy security measures as something against their interest and ultimately stand against the processes of energy security.
However, since energy security has to be inevitable, special measures need to be undertaken involving various stakeholders in the process of energy security. The stakeholders who can contribute to the process of energy security are:
- Legislation of appropriate laws and regulations to ensure energy security.
- Local administration and community leaders to generate public awareness of energy security.
- Governments to be aware of political factors that are responsible for numerous destruction energy sources and reserves through wars, and thus can contribute to ensuring energy security.
- Progressive international bilateral relationship.
- Scientific research can be a contributing factor through which new alternatives for energy security can be achieved.
What are the possible strategies to ensure energy security?
The following are some of the strategies to ensure both renewable and non-renewable energy security:
- Biomass: Biomass is derived from living things such as dropping of chicken, and waste’ plants burn biomass, etc.
- Hydroelectric: Hydroelectric energy is one of the viable sources of energy supply especially for domestic and industrial use. But as the water reservoirs get old, they lack water supply to the hydroelectric plants severely affecting the electric energy production.
- Wave and tidal energy: The energy derived from the sea wave and tide can contribute substantially to harness energy security. Though the technology used to derive wave and tidal energy are new and expensive, further research can be conducted on developing advanced technology to derive affordable sea energy.
- Geothermal energy: The geothermal energy is produced using heat within the earth and the process is easier, where the geothermal heat is, more accessible. Locations, where geothermal heat is easily accessible, can be explored to ensure energy security.
- Solar energy: Solar energy has been already in function in many parts of the world which are popularly used as one of the reliable alternatives to hydroelectric and fossil fuel energy. Solar energy is produced by extracting and storing energy from the sunlight. The latest technology can effectively produce solar energy even when it is cloudy.
- Wind energy: Wind energy is one of the oldest technology to produce energy from the flow of wind where the wind turbines convert wind movements into electric energy. Production of wind energy depends on the speed of the wind. Therefore, locations, where wind speed is more, can be explored to ensure energy security.
- Fossil fuel: The latest technological advancement has made it possible to use wasted heat by which the coal and gas stations can re-use the wasted heat. This is called the “combined-cycle system”. Besides this, some fossil fuel power plants are also burning a small amount of biomass along with the fossil fuel called “co-firing” to make the fossil fuel last longer. In addition to this, another technology called “fracking” which exploits shale gas further increasing the fossil fuel supply. These are some of the reliable alternatives to ensure energy security through fossil fuel energy supply.
- Nuclear energy: In the context of scarcity of less leftover uranium, reprocessing can recover some amount of uranium from the spent fuel rods. However, this will not create a new supply of uranium but can help the inefficient use of existing uranium leading to longer-lasting uranium.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the meaning of Energy Security?
The meaning of energy security is to ensure an adequate, affordable, and constant supply of energy for consistent and uninterrupted use of energy by domestic, industry and military.
What is the definition of energy Security?
The definition of energy security is the ability of a country to ensure adequate, affordable as well as a consistent supply of energy for use in domestic, military, industrial and transportation.
What are the strategies to ensure energy security?
The strategies to ensure energy security are through biomass, hydroelectric, sea and wind energy, geothermal and solar energy (renewable energy), and fossil fuel and nuclear energy.
- Study Note: Energy Security, Level: AS. A Level: https://www.tutor2u.net/geography/reference/energy-security
- Global Distribution of Global Energies. Part of Geography/Energy https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z3pppv4/revision/2
- The challenge of resource management. GCSE AQA – Energy. Part of Geography https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zxc2sg8/revision/3