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Interactions between energy security and climate change: A focus on developing countries


  • Bazilian, Morgan
  • Hobbs, Benjamin F.
  • Blyth, Will
  • MacGill, Iain
  • Howells, Mark


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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  • Bazilian, Morgan & Hobbs, Benjamin F. & Blyth, Will & MacGill, Iain & Howells, Mark, 2011. "Interactions between energy security and climate change: A focus on developing countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3750-3756, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:6:p:3750-3756

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lu, Lu & Jiang, Dong & Fu, Jingying & Zhuang, Dafang & Huang, Yaohuan & Hao, Mengmeng, 2014. "Evaluating energy benefit of Pistacia chinensis based biodiesel in China," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 258-264.
    2. Tung, Ching-Pin & Tseng, Tze-Chi & Huang, An-Lei & Liu, Tzu-Ming & Hu, Ming-Che, 2013. "Impact of climate change on Taiwanese power market determined using linear complementarity model," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 432-439.
    3. Morgan Bazilian & Patrick Nussbaumer & Hans-Holger Rogner & Abeeku Brew-Hammond & Vivien Foster & Shonali Pachauri & Eric Williams & Mark Howells & Philippe Niyongabo & Lawrence Musaba & Brian Ó Galla, 2011. "Energy Access Scenarios to 2030 for the Power Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 2011.68, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    4. Kapil Narula & B. Sudhakara Reddy, 2014. "Three blind men and elephant: The Case of energy indices to measure energy security and sustainability," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2014-024, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    5. Narula, Kapil & Reddy, B. Sudhakara, 2015. "Three blind men and an elephant: The case of energy indices to measure energy security and energy sustainability," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 148-158.
    6. Gupta, Sandeep Kumar & Purohit, Pallav, 2013. "Renewable energy certificate mechanism in India: A preliminary assessment," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 380-392.
    7. Kapil Narula & B. Sudhakara Reddy, 2014. "Three Blind Men and an Elephant: The Case of Energy Indices to Measure Energy Security and Sustainability," Working Papers id:5989, eSocialSciences.
    8. Ang, B.W. & Choong, W.L. & Ng, T.S., 2015. "Energy security: Definitions, dimensions and indexes," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 1077-1093.
    9. Vithayasrichareon, Peerapat & MacGill, Iain F. & Nakawiro, Thanawat, 2012. "Assessing the sustainability challenges for electricity industries in ASEAN newly industrialising countries," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 2217-2233.


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