VI on Energy Security

 

Introduction

Securing the supply of vital resources has always been a preoccupation of human collectives and has increasingly become a cornerstone of national policies. Energy did not emerge as a resource necessitating policy attention until the later part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century. Today, vast amounts of political, economic, and military effort is expended to secure energy resources. Along with the emergence of energy as an object of national policy-making, there also emerged the concept of “energy security.” Since World War II, the term has been used to refer to the ability of nations to secure supplies of energy, primarily fossil fuels. In that time, energy security meant securing reliable access to crude oil and petroleum fuels at reasonable price, and development of capabilities to stave off possible oil “crises.”

However current energy security definitions are not based on the crude oil and they are totally different from the above definition. Followings are few definitions for energy security:

1. The International Energy Authority (IEA) defines energy supply to be “secure” if it is adequate, affordable and reliable. Electricity, heat, and transport/mobility are usually considered to be amongst the basic necessities of life and therefore should be affordable to all at any time.

2. The European Commission defines energy security in its Green Paper as the “uninterrupted physical availability of energy products on the market, at a price which is affordable for all consumers (private and industrial)”. They define energy security risk as being the degree of probability of disruption to energy supply occurring.

3. National Conference of State Legislatures, USA defines energy security as a resilient energy system. The definition has physical, economic, social and environmental dimensions and long-term and short-term dimensions. A physical disruption can occur when an energy source is exhausted or production is stopped, temporarily or permanently. Further, in the short term perspective, the concern is with the disruptive impacts of an unanticipated cut in supply or rise in price. In the long term, the concern is more with the availability of sufficient energy that allows suitable and sustainable economic development.

In Sri Lanka, there are many organizations (Government ministries, research institutes, universities, private companies, etc.) and individuals working towards a common goal or goals to secure the energy but they are physically scattered and normally do not know what the other organization does. Thus, repetition and inefficiency is unavoidable leading to inefficient exploitation of results. It is worth enough developing appropriate means to improve interaction among these organizations and individuals and facilitate the transfer of knowledge, technology and research results to make them work towards the development of the country.

The virtual institute on energy security (VIES) attempts to find a solution for the above problem. It focuses on dimensions of energy security and their clusters, trends and risks associated with each cluster and approaches that can be made to alleviate risks by coordinating all the relevant stake holders to achieve specific targets in the energy sector.

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