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Energies 2017, 10(4), 534; doi:10.3390/en10040534

Developing an Input-Output Based Method to Estimate a National-Level Energy Return on Investment (EROI)

1
Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
2
Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QE, UK
3
Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand and Sussex Energy Group, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QE, UK
4
Low Carbon Energy Research Group, School of Chemical and Process Engineering; University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: John Barrett
Received: 10 February 2017 / Revised: 31 March 2017 / Accepted: 8 April 2017 / Published: 14 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Low Carbon Economy)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [3422 KB, uploaded 14 April 2017]   |  

Abstract

Concerns have been raised that declining energy return on energy investment (EROI) from fossil fuels, and low levels of EROI for alternative energy sources, could constrain the ability of national economies to continue to deliver economic growth and improvements in social wellbeing while undertaking a low-carbon transition. However, in order to test these concerns on a national scale, there is a conceptual and methodological gap in relation to calculating a national-level EROI and analysing its policy implications. We address this by developing a novel application of an Input-Output methodology to calculate a national-level indirect energy investment, one of the components needed for calculating a national-level EROI. This is a mixed physical and monetary approach using Multi-Regional Input-Output data and an energy extension. We discuss some conceptual and methodological issues relating to defining EROI for a national economy, and describe in detail the methodology and data requirements for the approach. We obtain initial results for the UK for the period 1997–2012, which show that the country’s EROI has been declining since the beginning of the 21st Century. We discuss the policy relevance of measuring national-level EROI and propose avenues for future research. View Full-Text
Keywords: Energy Return on Investment (EROI); Multi-Regional Input-Output; net energy analysis; resource depletion; biophysical economics; energy transition Energy Return on Investment (EROI); Multi-Regional Input-Output; net energy analysis; resource depletion; biophysical economics; energy transition
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Brand-Correa, L.I.; Brockway, P.E.; Copeland, C.L.; Foxon, T.J.; Owen, A.; Taylor, P.G. Developing an Input-Output Based Method to Estimate a National-Level Energy Return on Investment (EROI). Energies 2017, 10, 534.

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