- LAST REVIEWED: 17 May 2019
- LAST MODIFIED: 10 March 2015
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199363445-0021
- LAST REVIEWED: 17 May 2019
- LAST MODIFIED: 10 March 2015
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199363445-0021
Energy security is a multidisciplinary field which overlaps with engineering and energy systems analysis, earth sciences, economics, technology studies, political science, international relations, and security and military studies. Though discussions of energy security have been around for most of the 20th century, a systematic “energy security science” has emerged only recently and is still a young and dynamic field. The structure and the borders of the area are widely debated and contested. Contemporary debates on energy security include dilemmas such as whether energy security is a “socially constructed concept” or an objective property of energy systems, whether it is primarily a national-level issue or whether it also exists at different scales (household, local, regional, and global), whether it relates only to conventional or also to “human security,” whether it is a generic or context-dependent idea, and how it relates to other energy policy issues (e.g., environmental and social impacts). The key outcomes of this debate include the idea that energy security relates to both shocks and stresses, includes both physical and economic aspects, and relates to the “vital energy systems” which underpin the stability and functioning of societies.
There are no textbooks which provide a systematic and comprehensive overview of the field of energy security. Bohi and Toman 2011 provides a good early introduction to the topic from the economics perspective. Two handbooks, Sovacool 2011 and Dyer and Trombetta 2013, contain collections of valuable contributions but do not amount to a coherent overview of the field. The Global Energy Assessment’s chapter on Energy and Security (Cherp, et al. 2012) introduces and applies a single framework for both delineating and structuring the field of energy security which builds on the idea of vital energy systems and the three perspectives of energy security discussed in the Contemporary Conceptualizations of Energy Security section. Three comprehensive literature reviews on energy security are Sovacool and Brown 2010, Cherp and Jewell 2011, and Jewell 2013. The World Energy Outlook published yearly by the International Energy Agency (IEA) is an excellent source of analysis and information on global energy, including energy security, issues.
Bohi, Douglas R., and Michael A. Toman. 2011. The economics of energy security. London: Springer.
The book, originally published in 1996, examines the assessment of energy security externalities for policy purposes and the case for using energy security as an argument for government intervention in energy markets. It views energy security from the economics perspective and does not analyze more recent international developments affecting the contemporary interpretation of energy security.
Cherp, A., A. Adenikinju, A. Goldthau, et al. 2012. Energy and security. In Global Energy Assessment: Toward a sustainable future. Edited by Thomas B. Johansson, N. Nakicenovic, and A. Patwardan, 325–384. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.
The Global Energy Assessment was a major effort to analyze contemporary energy challenges as well as feasible pathways to solve these challenges with available technologies and resources. The energy and security chapter contains an assessment of energy security challenges in over 130 countries using over thirty indicators based on the framework proposed by Cherp and Jewell 2011 and Cherp and Jewell 2013 (cited under Measuring Energy Security).
Cherp, A., and J. Jewell. 2011. The three perspectives on energy security: Intellectual history, disciplinary roots and the potential for integration. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 3.4: 202–212.
This review traces the historic development of the energy security debate over the 20th and the early 21st century. It introduces the notion of vital energy systems and three epistemologically different perspectives on energy security, each with its roots in specific historic periods, policy problems, and disciplinary insights. The review also contains an annotated bibliography on energy security.
Dyer, H., and M. J. Trombetta, eds. 2013. International handbook of energy security. Cheltenham, UK, and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.
This edited volume includes twenty-four contributions, many drawn from the fields of international relations and political sciences. In the introduction, the editors summarize contemporary debates on energy security. The chapters are divided into several sections: security of supply, security of demand, energy, environment and security, and energy and human security.
IEA, International Energy Agency. 1994–. World Energy Outlook. Paris: International Energy Agency.
World Energy Outlook is a comprehensive overview of the most recent energy trends, projections, and issues around the world. Energy issues associated with energy security, such as trade and import dependence, traditionally take a prominent part in the Outlook. The most recent issues of the Outlook were focused on Brazil’s Energy Outlook and Outlook for Oil Markets 2013, Energy Efficiency and Iraq Energy Outlook 2012, Outlook for Russian Energy and Outlook for Coal Markets 2011, and Outlook for Natural Gas 2009.
Jewell, J. 2013. Energy security and climate change mitigation: Interaction in long-term global scenarios. PhD diss., Central European Univ., Budapest.
This PhD dissertation contains the most comprehensive historic overview of energy security literature.
Sovacool, B. K., ed. 2011. The Routledge handbook of energy security. Oxford and New York: Routledge.
This edited volume includes twenty contributions representing a range of disciplines dominated by social scientists. Over half of the chapters explore various dimensions of energy security, including “energy poverty,” “efficiency,” and “social and sustainable development.” Such broad delineation of energy security is often contested. Other chapters cover indicators and assessment methods for energy security, mostly interpreting it more narrowly.
Sovacool, B. K., and M. A. Brown. 2010. Competing dimensions of energy security: An international perspective. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 35.1: 77–108.
This review proposes four dimensions of energy security (availability, accessibility, efficiency, and environmental sustainability). It assigns each of ninety-one pieces of scholarship from 2003–2008 to one of these dimensions. It also contains a calculation of a compound energy security index of twenty-one OECD countries.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
- Acid Deposition
- Agricultural Land Abandonment
- Agrochemical Pollutants
- Agroforestry Systems
- Agroforestry: The North American Perspective
- Applied Fluvial Ecohydraulic
- Arctic Environments
- Arid Environments
- Arsenic Contamination in South and Southeast Asia
- Beavers as Agents of Landscape Change
- Berry, Wendell
- Burroughs, John
- Bush Encroachment
- Carbon Dynamics
- Carbon Pricing and Emissions Trading
- Carson, Rachel
- Case Studies in Groundwater Contaminant Fate and Transport
- Citizen Science
- Climate Change and Conflict in Northern Africa
- Common Pool Resources
- Contaminant Dispersal in the Environment
- Coral Reefs and Coral Bleaching
- Deforestation in Brazilian Amazonia
- Desert Dust in the Atmosphere
- Determinism, Environmental
- Digital Earth
- Ecological Integrity
- Economic Valuation Methods for Non-market Goods or Service...
- Economics, Environmental
- Economics of International Environmental Agreements
- Economics of Water Management
- Effects of Land Use
- Endocrine Disruptors
- Endocrinology, Environmental
- Engineering, Environmental
- Environmental Assessment
- Environmental Flows
- Environmental Health
- Environmental Law
- Environmental Sociology
- Ethics, Animal
- Ethics, Environmental
- European Union and Environmental Policy, The
- Extreme Weather and Climate
- Feedback Dynamics
- Fisheries, Economics of
- Forensics, Environmental
- Forest Transition
- Geodiversity and Geoconservation
- Geology, Environmental
- Global Phosphorus Dynamics
- Hazardous Waste
- Henry David Thoreau
- Historical Changes in European Rivers
- Historical Land Uses and Their Changes in the European Alp...
- Historical Range of Variability
- History, Environmental
- Human Impact on Historical Fluvial Sediment Dynamics in Eu...
- Humid Tropical Environments
- Hydraulic Fracturing
- India and the Environment
- Industrial Contamination, Case Studies in
- Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) for Climate Change
- International Land Grabbing
- Karst Caves
- Key Figures: North American Environmental Scientist Activi...
- Lakes: A Guide to the Scientific Literature
- Land Use, Land Cover and Land Management Change
- Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning
- Large Wood in Rivers
- Legacy Effects
- Lidar in Environmental Science, Use of
- Management, Australia's Environment
- Marine Mining
- Marine Protected Areas
- Mediterranean Environments
- Mountain Environments
- Muir, John
- Multiple Stable States and Regime Shifts
- Murray-Darling Basin Plan: Case Study in Market-Based Appr...
- Natural Fluvial Ecohydraulics
- Nitrogen Cycle, Human Manipulation of the Global
- Non-Renewable Resource Depletion and Use
- Olmsted, Frederick Law
- Periglacial Environments
- Physics, Environmental
- Psychology, Environmental
- Remote Sensing
- Riparian Zone
- River Pollution
- Rivers and Their Cultural Values: Assessing Cultural Water...
- Rivers, Effects of Dams on
- Rivers, Restoration of Physical Integrity of
- Sea Level Rise
- Secondary Forests in Tropical Environments
- Security, Energy
- Security, Environmental
- Security, Water
- Sediment Budgets and Sediment Delivery Ratios in River Sys...
- Sediment Regime and River Morphodynamics
- Semiarid Environments
- Soil Salinization
- Soils as an Environmental System
- Spatial Statistics
- Stream Mitigation Banking
- Sustainable Finance
- Sustainable Forestry, Economics of
- Technological and Hybrid Disasters
- The Key Role of Energy in Economic Growth
- Thresholds and Tipping Points
- Treaties, Environmental
- Tropical Southeast Asia
- Use of GIS in Environmental Science
- Water Availability
- Water Quality in Freshwater Bodies
- Water Quality Metrics
- Water Resources and Climate Change
- Water, Virtual
- White, Gilbert Fowler
- Wildfire as a Catalyst
- Zone, Critical