Dynamics of Energy Systems: A Useful Perspective

De Stercke, S. (2014). Dynamics of Energy Systems: A Useful Perspective. IIASA Interim Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: IR-14-013

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A long term study of the energy system from an output perspective shows its dynamics in terms of its basic driver: end-use. Long term energy system dynamics have traditionally been characterized using primary energy inputs. They therefore have a supply bias and do not show technological improvements in efficiency and productivity in the downstream components of the energy system, which historically have been both fundamental as well as dominant. How are the dynamics affected by taking an alternative view through an output lens? In this Interim Report, historical useful energy balances since 1900 for key countries and regions as well as the world are presented. The method for constructing them is documented. Rates of change, energy intensities, fuel shares, the sectoral breakup and the attribution according to end-use are compared between the primary, final and useful energy levels. The data show that useful energy measures paint a different picture: they reveal a sharper drop in carbon intensity and a better correlation with economic activity compared to traditional input-based measures based on primary energy inputs. An exergy layer is also added. This shows that there is a vast potential (in thermodynamic terms) to reduce primary energy use while providing the same useful exergy output. The data set is a foundation on which to build in developing new alternative measures of systems change and transitions that are closer to the ultimate output of energy systems: the provision of energy services.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Interim Report)
Research Programs: Transitions to New Technologies (TNT)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:52
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:24
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/11254

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