Future of Energy Security

International Energy Agency (IEA) describes energy security in terms of four indicators:

  • the availability of energy sources
  • the economics/pricing of the available sources
  • the environmental feasibility of the sources
  • the political accessibility of the sources

The conventional sources of energy – oil, gas and coal – are losing credibility on at least three out of four indicators. Abundant and uninterrupted supply of energy is the key element behind the smooth functioning of modern economies. The planet Earth becomes more populated with every passing day, and according to an estimate made by the United Nations (UN), the world population will cross the projected mark of nine billion by 2050. This presents a bleak picture of a future where the conventional sources of energy are simply not adequate to meet the ever-growing demand of energy.

673 quadrillion BTUs of energy will be needed by 2040, whereas the current energy demand stands at 440 quadrillion BTUs. The continued dominance of fossil fuels in the world’s energy mix is indicative of the fact that to meet this increased energy demand, a lot more fossil fuels will be burnt by 2040 than what is being burnt now. A report published in the World Energy Outlook by the International Energy Agency (IEA) states that if the global energy mix is not diversified and widened by incorporating other methods of energy extraction, the future of energy is dirty, insecure, expensive and unsustainable.

Energy security is directly linked to national security of a country and global human security . On the global scenario, China and India went through an industrial revolution by the end of 20th century. Both countries require fossil fuels to cater for the energy demands of their churning, energy-hungry industries.

In 2000, China’s energy use was half that of USA, but it surpassed the net energy consumption of USA in 2009. This has led to a competition between global powers; primarily USA, Russia, China and The European Union, to strive for securing the fossil fuel deposits. The Middle East, which is the hub of oil production, has been in a state of political turmoil for several years now. This leaves the future of energy security in a very questionable state.

Realizing the fickleness of conventional sources of energy production, the global trend is shifting towards the more stable, clean, cheap and reliable sources of energy. The concept of renewable energy is taking roots, globally. The world is now looking towards energy production through wind, solar, nuclear, hydel, thermal and biogas. Their share in the global energy mix currently stands at 10-15%. If we want a stable and secure future energy-wise, more effort has to be made to explore the avenues of renewable energy. A pragmatic policy should be implemented for ensuring energy security.

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