Interactions between energy security and climate change: A focus on developing countries
We briefly consider the tensions between climate change and energy security policy imperatives, and highlight some concepts that may bring additional clarity to decision-making at the nexus of the two areas. We focus on developing countries and use the case of the Medupi supercritical coal plant in South Africa. The justification for the plant's construction stemmed from an Integrated Resource Planning process informed by South Africa's national utility. Often, as in the case of South Africa, there are tensions not easily captured in quantitative algorithms between, inter alia, a lack of access to electricity by millions of people (and associated welfare losses) and greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation. It is difficult to identify any formal processes that have prioritised climate change considerations over those of energy access. Thus, it becomes imperative to have a clear understanding of the consequences of this reality when considering power system expansion. We find that the processes often employed do not provide an entirely satisfactory precedent for future planning analyses, and the justifications do not adequately reflect the complexity of the decision space. Finally, we highlight some options by which these tools might be enhanced in areas including explicit and formal consideration of risk.
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