E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "Energy Transitions and Economic Change"

Quicklinks

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 July 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. David I. Stern

Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: energy economics; climate change; economic growth; bibliometrics; meta-analysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Addressing major policy challenges such as climate change and energy security will involve transitions to new low-carbon energy carriers and improvements in energy efficiency. When developing scenarios and policies, we can also learn from past energy transitions and large-scale changes in energy use and the economy. For this special issue we invite contributions on energy and the economy ranging from historical analyses to emissions projections and future scenarios. We invite contributions on the following topics among others:

  • economics of new renewable energy technologies
  • energy efficiency and the rebound effect
  • energy ladder in developing countries
  • historical energy transitions (biomass to coal, coal to oil etc.)
  • role of energy in economic growth
  • energy and climate change
  • energy security
  • peak oil
  • economics of unconventional fossil fuels

We invite contributions from all disciplines and especially inter- and trans-disciplinary contributions.

Prof. David I. Stern
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • energy transition
  • climate change
  • energy security
  • economic growth
  • peak oil
  • rebound effect
  • energy efficiency
  • substitutability
  • technological change
  • energy intensity

Published Papers (14 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-14
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Role of Energy Quality in Shaping Long-Term Energy Intensity in Europe
Energies 2015, 8(1), 133-153; doi:10.3390/en8010133
Received: 11 November 2014 / Accepted: 12 December 2014 / Published: 26 December 2014
PDF Full-text (1207 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
On the European aggregate level there is an inverted-U curve for long-term energy intensity. In the 19th century aggregate European energy intensity rose, followed by a declining trend during the 20th century. This article discusses the possible explanations for the declining trend during
[...] Read more.
On the European aggregate level there is an inverted-U curve for long-term energy intensity. In the 19th century aggregate European energy intensity rose, followed by a declining trend during the 20th century. This article discusses the possible explanations for the declining trend during the 20th century and explores the role of energy quality as expressed in energy prices. For the first time a complete set of national energy retail prices covering two centuries has been constructed and used for Britain, while the energy price data previously available for Sweden until 2000 has been updated to 2009. This allows us to explore the role of energy quality in shaping long-term energy intensity. We find no relation between energy quality and energy intensity in the 19th century, while energy quality may have stimulated the declining energy intensity in Europe over the 20th century, but is not the sole or even main reason for the decline. Rather, increased economic efficiency in the use of energy services seems to have been the main driver for the decline after 1970, presumably driven by the information and communication technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transitions and Economic Change)
Open AccessArticle International Diffusion of Renewable Energy Innovations: Lessons from the Lead Markets for Wind Power in China, Germany and USA
Energies 2014, 7(12), 8236-8263; doi:10.3390/en7128236
Received: 19 November 2014 / Accepted: 3 December 2014 / Published: 10 December 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (541 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The international diffusion of environmental innovations is getting increasing attention as an opportunity to improve competitiveness. Especially in the energy sector, countries use policy support to this end. A recent goal in this context is the formation of “lead markets”, which represents the
[...] Read more.
The international diffusion of environmental innovations is getting increasing attention as an opportunity to improve competitiveness. Especially in the energy sector, countries use policy support to this end. A recent goal in this context is the formation of “lead markets”, which represents the idea that countries can build up first-mover advantages that will increase their competitiveness. Taking the lead in international diffusion of a particular innovation benefits a country’s industry through creating increasing returns of technological development and stimulating exports to expanding international markets. Interaction between national and international forces affecting renewable energy innovation and its diffusion has received fairly little attention so far. Here, we investigate the formation of lead markets for wind power technologies in China, Germany and the USA to see whether policy support of renewable energy innovation is capable of improving competitiveness. An extension of the current lead market framework is developed to include supply side factors and technology policy issues. The comparative analysis of lead market potential for wind power indicates a high level of internationalization of the industry with countries holding lead positions in specific parts the supply chain. Competitive advantages were built upon policy support but tended to shift among countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transitions and Economic Change)
Open AccessArticle U.S. Energy Transitions 1780–2010
Energies 2014, 7(12), 7955-7993; doi:10.3390/en7127955
Received: 15 July 2014 / Revised: 4 November 2014 / Accepted: 5 November 2014 / Published: 27 November 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1021 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Economic and social factors compel large-scale changes in energy systems. An ongoing transition in the United States is driven by environmental concerns, changing patterns of energy end-use, constraints on petroleum supply. Analysis of prior transitions shows that energy intensity in the U.S. from
[...] Read more.
Economic and social factors compel large-scale changes in energy systems. An ongoing transition in the United States is driven by environmental concerns, changing patterns of energy end-use, constraints on petroleum supply. Analysis of prior transitions shows that energy intensity in the U.S. from 1820 to 2010 features a declining trend when traditional energy is included, in contrast to the “inverted U-curve” seen when only commercial energy is considered. This analysis quantifies use of human and animal muscle power, wind and water power, biomass, harvested ice, fossil fuels, and nuclear power, with some consumption series extending back to 1780. The analysis reaffirms the importance of innovation in energy conversion technologies in energy transitions. An increase in energy intensity in the early 20th century is explained by diminishing returns to pre-electric manufacturing systems, which produced a transformation in manufacturing. In comparison to similar studies for other countries, the U.S. has generally higher energy intensity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transitions and Economic Change)
Open AccessArticle Ambiguity Reduction by Objective Model Selection, with an Application to the Costs of the EU 2030 Climate Targets
Energies 2014, 7(11), 6886-6896; doi:10.3390/en7116886
Received: 21 July 2014 / Revised: 15 October 2014 / Accepted: 17 October 2014 / Published: 28 October 2014
PDF Full-text (493 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
I estimate the cost of meeting the EU 2030 targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction, using statistical emulators of ten alternative models. Assuming a first-best policy implementation, I find that total and marginal costs are modest. The statistical emulators allow me to compute
[...] Read more.
I estimate the cost of meeting the EU 2030 targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction, using statistical emulators of ten alternative models. Assuming a first-best policy implementation, I find that total and marginal costs are modest. The statistical emulators allow me to compute the risk premiums, which are small, because the EU is rich and the policy impact is small. The ensemble of ten models allows me to compute the ambiguity premium, which is small for the same reason. I construct a counterfactual estimate of recent emissions without the climate policy and use that to test the predictive skill of the ten models. The models that show the lowest cost of emission reduction also have the lowest skill for Europe in recent times. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transitions and Economic Change)
Open AccessArticle Does a Change in Price of Fuel Affect GDP Growth? An Examination of the U.S. Data from 1950–2013
Energies 2014, 7(10), 6558-6570; doi:10.3390/en7106558
Received: 25 July 2014 / Revised: 27 September 2014 / Accepted: 29 September 2014 / Published: 14 October 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (646 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We examined data on fuel consumption and costs for the years 1950 through 2013, along with economic and population data, to determine the percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) spent each year on fuels, including fossil fuels and nuclear ore, and the
[...] Read more.
We examined data on fuel consumption and costs for the years 1950 through 2013, along with economic and population data, to determine the percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) spent each year on fuels, including fossil fuels and nuclear ore, and the growth of the economy. We found that these variables are inversely correlated. This suggests that the availability and cost of energy is a significant determinant of economic performance. We believe this relation is consistent with analyses based on the energy return on investment (EROI) concept in that increasingly scarce, and hence expensive, fuels are a drag on economic growth. The best-fitting linear equation relating the percent of GDP (energy cost share) and year-over-year (YoY) GDP change variables suggests that a threshold exists in the vicinity of 4%; if the percent of GDP spent on fuels is greater than this, poorer economic performance has been likely. Currently, about 5% of GDP is spent on fuels; most of this is for liquids. Continued weak economic performance appears likely unless improvements in energy efficiency, on the order of a factor of 3 for liquid fuels, and/or a more rapid adoption of renewable or nuclear energy sources can be achieved, provided that the EROI of these new sources proves to be sufficiently high. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transitions and Economic Change)
Open AccessArticle The End of Cheap Oil: Economic, Social, and Political Change in the US and Former Soviet Union
Energies 2014, 7(10), 6225-6241; doi:10.3390/en7106225
Received: 18 July 2014 / Revised: 5 September 2014 / Accepted: 16 September 2014 / Published: 29 September 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (717 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
I use the quality and quantity of energy flows to interpret economic, social, and political changes in the US and Former Soviet Union. The economic successes of both the former Soviet Union (FSU) and the US reflect an abundant supply of high quality
[...] Read more.
I use the quality and quantity of energy flows to interpret economic, social, and political changes in the US and Former Soviet Union. The economic successes of both the former Soviet Union (FSU) and the US reflect an abundant supply of high quality energy. This abundance ended in the 1970s in the US and the 1980s in the Former Soviet Union. In the US, the end of cheap oil caused labor productivity to stagnate, which stopped on-going growth in wages and family incomes. To preserve the American Dream, which holds that each generation will be better off than the one that preceded it, women entered the workforce, income was transferred from saving to consumption, the US economy changed from a net creditor to a net debtor, and debt held by families and the Federal government increased. Despite efforts to hide the income effects, the end of cheap oil also is responsible for increasing income inequality. In the FSU, the end of abundant energy supplies meant that allocating the energy surplus among the domestic economy, subsidized exports to Eastern Europe, and hard currency sales to the West became a zero sum game. This contributed to the collapse of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) alliance and the FSU. If the US is able to extricate itself from personal and governmental debt, solving the social and political concerns about inequality is the next formidable challenge posed by the end of cheap oil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transitions and Economic Change)
Open AccessArticle Business Models in the Smart Grid: Challenges, Opportunities and Proposals for Prosumer Profitability
Energies 2014, 7(9), 6142-6171; doi:10.3390/en7096142
Received: 5 July 2014 / Revised: 7 September 2014 / Accepted: 9 September 2014 / Published: 23 September 2014
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (980 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Considering that non-renewable energy resources are dwindling, the smart grid turns out to be one of the most promising and compelling systems for the future of energy. Not only does it combine efficient energy consumption with avant-garde technologies related to renewable energies, but
[...] Read more.
Considering that non-renewable energy resources are dwindling, the smart grid turns out to be one of the most promising and compelling systems for the future of energy. Not only does it combine efficient energy consumption with avant-garde technologies related to renewable energies, but it is also capable of providing several beneficial utilities, such as power monitoring and data provision. When smart grid end users turn into prosumers, they become arguably the most important value creators within the smart grid and a decisive agent of change in terms of electricity usage. There is a plethora of research and development areas related to the smart grid that can be exploited for new business opportunities, thus spawning another branch of the so-called “green economy” focused on turning smart energy usage into a profitable business. This paper deals with emerging business models for smart grid prosumers, their strengths and weaknesses and puts forward new prosumer-oriented business models, along with their value propositions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transitions and Economic Change)
Open AccessArticle False Shades of Green: The Case of Brazilian Amazonian Hydropower
Energies 2014, 7(9), 6063-6082; doi:10.3390/en7096063
Received: 30 June 2014 / Revised: 15 August 2014 / Accepted: 1 September 2014 / Published: 16 September 2014
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (563 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Federal Government of Brazil has ambitious plans to build a system of 58 additional hydroelectric dams in the Brazilian Amazon, with Hundreds of additional dams planned for other countries in the watershed. Although hydropower is often billed as clean energy, we argue
[...] Read more.
The Federal Government of Brazil has ambitious plans to build a system of 58 additional hydroelectric dams in the Brazilian Amazon, with Hundreds of additional dams planned for other countries in the watershed. Although hydropower is often billed as clean energy, we argue that the environmental impacts of this project are likely to be large, and will result in substantial loss of biodiversity, as well as changes in the flows of ecological services. Moreover, the projects will generate significant greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and decay of organic matter in the reservoirs. These emissions are equivalent to the five years of emissions that would be generated by gas powered plants of equivalent capacity. In addition, we examine the economic benefits of the hydropower in comparison to new alternatives, such as photovoltaic energy and wind power. We find that current costs of hydropower exceed alternatives, and the costs of costs of these alternatives are likely to fall substantially below those of hydropower, while the environmental damages from the dams will be extensive and irreversible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transitions and Economic Change)
Open AccessArticle Finite Action-Set Learning Automata for Economic Dispatch Considering Electric Vehicles and Renewable Energy Sources
Energies 2014, 7(7), 4629-4647; doi:10.3390/en7074629
Received: 19 May 2014 / Revised: 10 July 2014 / Accepted: 11 July 2014 / Published: 22 July 2014
PDF Full-text (466 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The coming interaction between a growing electrified vehicle fleet and the desired growth in renewable energy provides new insights into the economic dispatch (ED) problem. This paper presents an economic dispatch model that considers electric vehicle charging, battery exchange stations, and wind farms.
[...] Read more.
The coming interaction between a growing electrified vehicle fleet and the desired growth in renewable energy provides new insights into the economic dispatch (ED) problem. This paper presents an economic dispatch model that considers electric vehicle charging, battery exchange stations, and wind farms. This ED model is a high-dimensional, non-linear, and stochastic problem and its solution requires powerful methods. A new finite action-set learning automata (FALA)-based approach that has the ability to adapt to a stochastic environment is proposed. The feasibility of the proposed approach is demonstrated in a modified IEEE 30 bus system. It is compared with continuous action-set learning automata and particle swarm optimization-based approaches in terms of convergence characteristics, computational efficiency, and solution quality. Simulation results show that the proposed FALA-based approach was indeed capable of more efficiently obtaining the approximately optimal solution. In addition, by using an optimal dispatch schedule for the interaction between electric vehicle stations and power systems, it is possible to reduce the gap between demand and power generation at different times of the day. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transitions and Economic Change)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Promoting Second Generation Biofuels: Does the First Generation Pave the Road?
Energies 2014, 7(7), 4430-4445; doi:10.3390/en7074430
Received: 6 May 2014 / Revised: 3 July 2014 / Accepted: 7 July 2014 / Published: 11 July 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (589 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The U.S., Brazil and a number of European and other countries worldwide have introduced various support schemes for bioethanol and biodiesel. The advantage of these biofuels is that they are relatively easily integrated with the current fossil fuel-based transport sector, at least up
[...] Read more.
The U.S., Brazil and a number of European and other countries worldwide have introduced various support schemes for bioethanol and biodiesel. The advantage of these biofuels is that they are relatively easily integrated with the current fossil fuel-based transport sector, at least up to a certain point. However, recent studies point to various negative effects of expanding the production of first generation (1G) biofuels further. 1G biofuels’ problems can be overcome by a transition to second generation (2G) biofuels. So far, 2G biofuels are much more costly to produce. We therefore ask: to what extent is targeted support to 2G biofuels likely to bring costs down? Additionally, are current support schemes for biofuels well designed in order to promote the development of 2G biofuels? We find that the prospects for cost reduction look better for 2G bioethanol than for 2G biodiesel. Bioethanol made from cellulose is far from a ripe technology, with several cost-reducing opportunities yet to be developed. Hence, targeted support to cellulosic ethanol might induce a switch from 1G to 2G biofuels. However, we find little evidence that production and use of 1G bioethanol will bridge the conversion to 2G bioethanol. Hence, to the extent that private investment in the development of 2G bioethanol is too low, current support schemes for 1G biofuels may block 2G bioethanol instead of promoting it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transitions and Economic Change)
Open AccessArticle Efficacy and Efficiency of Italian Energy Policy: The Case of PV Systems in Greenhouse Farms
Energies 2014, 7(6), 3985-4001; doi:10.3390/en7063985
Received: 14 May 2014 / Revised: 11 June 2014 / Accepted: 17 June 2014 / Published: 24 June 2014
Cited by 30 | PDF Full-text (589 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The production of energy from renewable sources is a form of energy production that has less impact on the environment than the traditional one. For the farmer this new form of production represents an opportunity, especially for the economic benefits that can produce,
[...] Read more.
The production of energy from renewable sources is a form of energy production that has less impact on the environment than the traditional one. For the farmer this new form of production represents an opportunity, especially for the economic benefits that can produce, both in terms of the incentives provided by the public operator and for higher revenues, deriving from the sale of energy back to the grid and/or the savings generated by self-consumed energy, that help to increase the farmer’s income. In this paper, we analyzed a case study of a farm that has realized a grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) system on a greenhouse. In particular, firstly the farm profitability has been estimated and subsequently, in order to assess the efficiency of the energy policy adopted by the Second Conto Energia in Italy, the minimum incentive tariff at which the entrepreneur has an economic advantage to realize a PV system has been determined. Results show that PV system relegates to a marginal role the cultivation of agricultural products compared to energy production and that government PV remuneration policies far outweigh the minimum threshold that makes the investment advantageous. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transitions and Economic Change)
Open AccessArticle The Optimal Price Ratio of Typical Energy Sources in Beijing Based on the Computable General Equilibrium Model
Energies 2014, 7(5), 2961-2984; doi:10.3390/en7052961
Received: 29 January 2014 / Revised: 25 March 2014 / Accepted: 16 April 2014 / Published: 30 April 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (374 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In Beijing, China, the rational consumption of energy is affected by the insufficient linkage mechanism of the energy pricing system, the unreasonable price ratio and other issues. This paper combines the characteristics of Beijing’s energy market, putting forward the society-economy equilibrium indicator R
[...] Read more.
In Beijing, China, the rational consumption of energy is affected by the insufficient linkage mechanism of the energy pricing system, the unreasonable price ratio and other issues. This paper combines the characteristics of Beijing’s energy market, putting forward the society-economy equilibrium indicator R maximization taking into consideration the mitigation cost to determine a reasonable price ratio range. Based on the computable general equilibrium (CGE) model, and dividing four kinds of energy sources into three groups, the impact of price fluctuations of electricity and natural gas on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Consumer Price Index (CPI), energy consumption and CO2 and SO2 emissions can be simulated for various scenarios. On this basis, the integrated effects of electricity and natural gas price shocks on the Beijing economy and environment can be calculated. The results show that relative to the coal prices, the electricity and natural gas prices in Beijing are currently below reasonable levels; the solution to these unreasonable energy price ratios should begin by improving the energy pricing mechanism, through means such as the establishment of a sound dynamic adjustment mechanism between regulated prices and market prices. This provides a new idea for exploring the rationality of energy price ratios in imperfect competitive energy markets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transitions and Economic Change)
Open AccessArticle Energy Substitution, Technical Change and Rebound Effects
Energies 2014, 7(5), 2850-2873; doi:10.3390/en7052850
Received: 28 February 2014 / Revised: 13 April 2014 / Accepted: 16 April 2014 / Published: 29 April 2014
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (311 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper investigates the relationships between energy efficiency improvements by producers, the ease of substitution between energy and other inputs and the size of the resulting “rebound effects”. Fundamentally, easier substitution leads to larger rebounds. Focusing upon conceptual and methodological issues, the paper
[...] Read more.
This paper investigates the relationships between energy efficiency improvements by producers, the ease of substitution between energy and other inputs and the size of the resulting “rebound effects”. Fundamentally, easier substitution leads to larger rebounds. Focusing upon conceptual and methodological issues, the paper highlights the challenges of estimating and modeling rebound effects with the help of production and cost functions and questions the robustness of the evidence base in this area. It argues that the multiple definitions of “elasticities of substitution” are a source of confusion, the most commonly estimated elasticity is of little practical value, the empirical literature is contradictory, prone to bias and difficult to use and there are only tenuous links between this literature and the assumptions used within energy-economic models. While “energy-augmenting technical change” provides the natural choice of independent variable for an estimate of rebound effects, most empirical studies do not estimate this form of technical change, many modeling studies do not simulate it and others simulate it in such a way as to underestimate rebound effects. As a result, the paper argues that current econometric and modeling studies do not provide reliable guidance on the magnitude of rebound effects in different industrial sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transitions and Economic Change)
Open AccessArticle Taxing Strategies for Carbon Emissions: A Bilevel Optimization Approach
Energies 2014, 7(4), 2228-2245; doi:10.3390/en7042228
Received: 26 January 2014 / Revised: 4 April 2014 / Accepted: 4 April 2014 / Published: 9 April 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (483 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents a quantitative and computational method to determine the optimal tax rate among generating units. To strike a balance between the reduction of carbon emission and the profit of energy sectors, the proposed bilevel optimization model can be regarded as a
[...] Read more.
This paper presents a quantitative and computational method to determine the optimal tax rate among generating units. To strike a balance between the reduction of carbon emission and the profit of energy sectors, the proposed bilevel optimization model can be regarded as a Stackelberg game between the government agency and the generation companies. The upper-level, which represents the government agency, aims to limit total carbon emissions within a certain level by setting optimal tax rates among generators according to their emission performances. The lower-level, which represents decision behaviors of the grid operator, tries to minimize the total production cost under the tax rates set by the government. The bilevel optimization model is finally reformulated into a mixed integer linear program (MILP) which can be solved by off-the-shelf MILP solvers. Case studies on a 10-unit system as well as a provincial power grid in China demonstrate the validity of the proposed method and its capability in practical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transitions and Economic Change)

Journal Contact

MDPI AG
Energies Editorial Office
St. Alban-Anlage 66, 4052 Basel, Switzerland
energies@mdpi.com
Tel. +41 61 683 77 34
Fax: +41 61 302 89 18
Editorial Board
Contact Details Submit to Energies
Back to Top