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The Extent to Which Domestic Energy Resources Are Important in Determining the Energy Security of Countries

Updated on July 1, 2016

Domestic energy sources are fundamental for any country to achieve complete energy security, but a high level of security can be obtained if a country does not rely on finite sources, i.e. fossil fuels, and has exceptionally strong relations with supplying countries.

Whilst countries such as Denmark and Portugal are among the most energy secure in the world due to their domestic renewable energy sources (wind, tidal, etc.), France achieves a comparable level of security from its reliance on nuclear energy – a recyclable source.

Despite having to import materials, France maintains a high level of energy security, as the materials tend to come from close allies, which are extremely politically stable, e.g. Australia and Canada. This demonstrates that energy security can be achieved without using domestic resources.

The Ardrossan Wind Farm in Scotland.
The Ardrossan Wind Farm in Scotland. | Source

Conversely, the UK has had to develop its energy mix since reaching peak oil in the late 1990s, and although Scotland is one of the least fossil fuel dependent places globally, England still imports a significant amount of natural gas from Russia; this could be seen as diminishing the UK's energy security, as Russia could use its natural resource dominance to exert political pressure on the UK, as it has done to Ukraine on numerous occasions, such as in 2009, when it cut off the gas supply through Ukraine, a transit country, for 13 days, due to Ukraine failing to pay billions of pounds of debt.

Many African countries are rich in natural resources, but are unable to utilise them to become energy secure. For example, over 85% of Angola's exports are oil, and 40% goes to China, but Angola has seen relatively little benefit, as multinational corporations take profits, and corruption persists.

Whereas India imports 80% of its oil, produces over half of its electricity from coal, and is only increasing its fossil fuel dependence, thereby reducing its energy security, and leaving it vulnerable to fluctuations in global prices, China is beginning to reduce its fossil fuel use, and already generates 20% of its electricity from hydropower.

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