Upholding safety in future energy systems: The need for systemic risk assessment

Ben Riemersma*, Rolf Künneke, Genserik Reniers, Aad Correljé

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
77 Downloads (Pure)


This paper argues that energy systems are becoming increasingly complex, and illustrates how new types of hazards emerge from an ongoing transition towards renewable energy sources. It shows that the energy sector relies heavily on risk assessment methods that are analytic, and that systemic methods provide important additional insights.Acase study of the Dutch gas sector illustrates this by comparing the hazard and operability study (HAZOP, analytic) with the system-theoretic process analysis (STPA, systemic). The contribution is twofold. This paper illustrates how system hazards will remain underestimated by sustained use of only analytic methods, and it highlights the need to study the organization of safety in energy transitions. We conclude that appropriate risk assessment for future energy systems involves both analytic and systemic risk assessments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6523
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Biogas
  • Energy transition
  • Hazard analysis
  • Hydrogen
  • Renewable energy
  • Risk assessment
  • Safety
  • STPA


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