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The concept of energy security: Beyond the four As

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  • Cherp, Aleh
  • Jewell, Jessica

Abstract

Energy security studies have expanded from their classic beginnings following the 1970s oil crises to encompass various energy sectors and increasingly diverse issues. This viewpoint contributes to the re-examination of the meaning of energy security that has accompanied this expansion. Our starting point is that energy security is an instance of security in general and thus any concept of it should address three questions: “Security for whom?”, “Security for which values?” and “Security from what threats?” We examine an influential approach – the ‘four As of energy security’ (availability, accessibility, affordability, and acceptability) and related literature of energy security – to show it does not address these questions. We subsequently summarize recent insights which propose a different concept of energy security as ‘low vulnerability of vital energy systems’. This approach opens the road for detailed exploration of vulnerabilities as a combination of exposure to risks and resilience and of the links between vital energy systems and critical social functions. The examination of energy security framed by this concept involves several scientific disciplines and provides a useful platform for scholarly analysis and policy learning.

Suggested Citation

  • Cherp, Aleh & Jewell, Jessica, 2014. "The concept of energy security: Beyond the four As," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 415-421.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:75:y:2014:i:c:p:415-421
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2014.09.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Cherp, Aleh & Vinichenko, Vadim & Jewell, Jessica & Suzuki, Masahiro & Antal, Miklós, 2017. "Comparing electricity transitions: A historical analysis of nuclear, wind and solar power in Germany and Japan," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 612-628.
    4. Molyneaux, Lynette & Brown, Colin & Wagner, Liam & Foster, John, 2016. "Measuring resilience in energy systems: Insights from a range of disciplines," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 1068-1079.
    5. Liedtke, Stephan, 2017. "Chinese energy investments in Europe: An analysis of policy drivers and approaches," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 659-669.
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    9. Norbert Edomah & Chris Foulds & Aled Jones, 2016. "The Role of Policy Makers and Institutions in the Energy Sector: The Case of Energy Infrastructure Governance in Nigeria," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(8), pages 1-15, August.
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    17. Johansson, Bengt & Jonsson, Daniel K. & Veibäck, Ester & Sonnsjö, Hannes, 2016. "Assessing the capabilites to manage risks in energy systems–analytical perspectives and frameworks with a starting point in Swedish experiences," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 116(P1), pages 429-435.
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