Energy self-sufficiency is the ability of a country to meet its own energy needs without depending on other countries
Not all countries have enough oil, gas or dams to produce enough energy, so they have to import what they lack (buy from other countries).
For example, Spain barely produces oil and has to import it from other countries. If it did not, it could not produce fuel for the means of transport or machinery that needs it.
From this perspective, energy autonomy is possessed by those countries that do not need to import energy resources to obtain energy. Of course, it is rare for a country to be self-sufficient in all types of energy. It might have a lot of oil, but no gas. So, we will say that it has autonomy in terms of oil, but not in terms of gas.
Importance of energy autonomy
The depletion of non-renewable resources not only makes them more expensive, but also implies a risk factor for the stability of economies, as they all require energy to carry out their production processes and satisfy their needs.
Governments and international organisations seek to achieve energy autonomy. The key to doing so, besides energy saving, is the use of renewable energy, which entails significant challenges.
Advantages of energy autonomy
The extent of energy autonomy occurs in the medium and long term. Its advantages are:
- avoids dependence on external supply sources and thus also avoids price volatility
- avoids the costs of transporting hydrocarbons
- avoids oil spill accidents in the oceans, which have devastating effects on fauna and flora
- reduces the pollution that is generated (if energy autonomy is achieved with renewable or low-polluting resources), both in the production process and in its use. In other words, it would avoid compromising the well-being of future generations
Necessary conditions for energy autonomy
For there to be energy autonomy, a joint effort between:
- government, encouraging and supporting investment projects in renewable energy
In order to know how to set up a strategy to achieve energy autonomy and how to combine the minimum necessary actions, some conditions are listed below.
- Renewable resources available and sufficient to meet the needs of a country, population or community.
- Investment in the necessary infrastructure.
- Ease of energy storage and distribution.
- Flexibility in energy generation, so as to have the capacity to adapt to changing market needs.
- Laws according to energy autonomy. To allow accessibility without compromising reliability or continuity of supply. This would be achieved with regulatory policies in energy generation, pricing and distribution.
- Communicate and raise awareness of the benefits of renewable energy.
To ensure that energy supply is not interrupted by weather changes.