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The challenge facing energy policy is often described as a "trilemma". It includes the three vital aspects of decarbonisation, security of supply and cost.
The challenge facing energy policy is often described as a "trilemma". Three vital, but often competing, policy outcomes must be delivered:
Decarbonisation – carbon and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from energy supply and use must be reduced in order to reduce climate change impacts
Security of supply – an adequate security of energy supply must be maintained, including resilience to both short-term and long-term challenges
Cost – the cost of energy must be affordable for consumers
Balancing these three policy drivers is complex. Action must be taken on decarbonisation and security of supply. But measures cannot be considered in isolation and those selected must be cost-effective.
A key conclusion is that all types of energy technology have a role to play:
A number of policy mechanisms are already in place at international, European and UK levels to address elements of the trilemma. Significant ones include:
More detail on these policy measures is available in our Climate Change Policy Mechanisms briefing sheet.
Civil engineers have a major role to play in delivering solutions to the energy trilemma:
In our State of the Nation 2014 report, we identified three immediate, specific policy actions to deliver progress on the trilemma:
The report also recommended the following objectives for delivery by 2018:
A number of other ICE briefing sheets provide added background on aspects of the trilemma:
Climate Change Policy Mechanisms
Embodied Energy & Carbon
Challenges of Energy Security and Affordability of our Future Energy Supplies – This presentation offers some graphs to predict future demand and supply and emphasizes we must take a coherent integrated approach in our decision making on energy.
You can download a copy of this briefing sheet below.