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Energies 2015, 8(1), 133-153; doi:10.3390/en8010133

The Role of Energy Quality in Shaping Long-Term Energy Intensity in Europe

1
Department of Economic History, Lund University, Box 7083, Lund 22007, Sweden
2
Department of History, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: David Stern
Received: 11 November 2014 / Accepted: 12 December 2014 / Published: 26 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Transitions and Economic Change)
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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 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: energy quality; energy prices; energy intensity; Europe; England; Sweden energy quality; energy prices; energy intensity; Europe; England; Sweden
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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Gentvilaite, R.; Kander, A.; Warde, P. The Role of Energy Quality in Shaping Long-Term Energy Intensity in Europe. Energies 2015, 8, 133-153.

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