Title: The precarious consensus on the importance of energy security : contrasting views between Swiss energy users and experts
Authors : Blumer, Yann B.
Moser, Corinne
Patt, Anthony
Seidl, Roman
Published in : Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews
Volume(Issue) : 52
Pages : 927
Pages to: 936
Publisher / Ed. Institution : Elsevier
Issue Date: 2015
License (according to publishing contract) : Licence according to publishing contract
Type of review: Peer review (Publication)
Language : English
Subjects : Energy security; Energy transition; Energy system visions; Renewables; Switzerland
Subject (DDC) : 333.7: Land, recreational areas and energy
Abstract: Consented visions are a driving force for energy policies and projects. But while there used to exist a fairly uniform understanding of energy security, in recent years competing visions have emerged. Examples include autarchic, regional energy systems, and highly integrated, international ones. Each of these follows its own energy security logic. This paper explores linkages between individuals’ understanding of energy security and their preferences for different energy visions, comparing energy users and experts. It draws from two consecutive studies in Switzerland. The first is a series of twelve qualitative interviews among energy system experts, who reveal a strong preference for an integrated energy system that is based on high-quality infrastructure. This stands in contrast to the country’s predominant paradigm of independence, which is not only present in the public discourse but also in national energy policies. The second study is an online survey that finds differences between energy users’ (n=194) and experts’ (n=98) understanding of energy security: Experts tend to see energy security primarily as the absence of supply disruptions, whereas energy users tend to take a long-term perspective, and to include additional aspects in their considerations, such as environmental concerns. Thus, the societal consensus on the importance of energy security is a precarious one: conflicts about the meaning of energy security can strip the concept of its power to be a building block of societal energy visions. Decision-makers in policy and the energy sector therefore need to be aware that a shared understanding of energy security cannot be taken for granted. They should also recognize energy security as a strong argument for promoting renewables. However, it will not suffice to refer to a specific renewable project as “beneficial for energy security” – conveying its benefits from an energy security perspective requires knowledge of key actors’ understandings of this complex concept.
Departement: School of Engineering
Organisational Unit: Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE)
Institute of Sustainable Development (INE)
Publication type: Article in scientific Journal
DOI : 10.1016/j.rser.2015.07.081
ISSN: 1364-0321
URI: https://digitalcollection.zhaw.ch/handle/11475/2162
Appears in Collections:Publikationen School of Engineering

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