The energy security concept is as old as fire. The need to secure required energy for a functioning society has been always in the mind of decision makers, in any society. The reasons why decision makers in any society aim to secure needed energy stands behind the fact that energy is an engine for economic growth and a driver for civilization and development. For that, energy security was seen sometimes equal to national security. However, the dilemma started because of the different views of what energy security is. For example, old societies relied on wood as a source of energy, therefore, they considered an access to forests as their energy security concern. On the other hand, modern societies consider electricity to be the backbone for consumers’ energy security. Thus, there is a need to create a collective common understanding of what energy security is.
The first step in the path of developing a generic understanding of energy security is to determine its definition. As Aristotle reputedly said, “he, who controls the definition, controls the debate”, each entity dealing with energy security along the history has tried to provide a definition that suits their needs. That chaos in definitions lead Azzuni and Breyer to propose a generic definition of energy security. A definition that covers all aspects of the energy security concept with taking into consideration the notion of sustainability and vulnerability was developed. The result is: energy security is the feature (measure, situation or a status) in which a related system functions optimally and sustainably in all its dimensions, freely from any threats. By this definition, all perspectives are taken into consideration, any dimension can be included, and all risks can be accounted for. The last step in creating a comprehensive understanding of the energy security concept is to identify the dimensions and parameters of energy security, and the threats to each dimension.
Dimensionalization of energy security shows the way of what to include when the term is discussed. As Azzuni and Breyer went through an extensive literature review, they came up with 15 dimensions of energy security. They concluded that if energy security is to be addressed systematically, these 15 dimensions are to be studied in details. Each of the 15 dimensions has several parameters. The recommendations of this overview of 15 energy security dimensions is for policy makers, governments, NGOs and researchers. In order to come up with an inclusive and comprehensive agenda for energy security, all the 15 dimensions and their parameters should be taken into account. The exclusion of any of these dimensions will result in imbalanced decisions in regards to energy security because all the dimensions are interdependent and can affect each other.
Kindly contributed by Abdelrahman Azzuni and Christian Breyer.