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Special Issue "Energy Security and Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2017

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Mr. Jeffrey Logan

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 15013 Denver West Parkway, Golden, CO 80401, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: clean energy policy analysis; carbon mitigation; energy security; Chinese energy policy and markets
Guest Editor
Dr. Doug Arent

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 15013 Denver West Parkway, Golden, CO 80401, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: clean energy; renewable energy; power systems; natural gas; the intersection of science; public policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Global energy markets are currently experiencing notable uncertainty and transformation due to changes in technology, social demands, business models, and a host of other factors. These changes are also forcing us to rethink the traditional energy security calculus. Advances in renewable energy technology, for example, allow for greater reliance on domestic resources, but introduce new complications in managing electricity grids given the variable nature of wind and solar resources. Likewise, consumers may be shifting to a greater reliance on “electrified” end-uses as electric vehicles and heat pumps become alternatives to petroleum-fueled vehicles and natural gas heating. Establishing robust cybersecurity measures in such a highly-electrified future may emerge as a key issue. Advances in hydraulic fracturing of unconventional oil and gas formations in North America has allowed significant growth in production, although also raised questions about the potential for impacts on security-related issues, including water, air and agricultural concerns. Finally, energy infrastructure in many locations is aging and presents increasing security challenges. The implications of these trends in technology, policy, finance, and infrastructure on global geopolitics, greenhouse gas emissions, and trade are potentially significant.

This Special Edition on “Energy Security” encourages a diverse set of submissions. Topics include:

  • Evolving definitions of energy security and metrics used to characterize them.
  • Are security and sustainability mutually attainable or in conflict?
  • Analysis of energy security and sustainability trends at the local, national, regional and global level.
  • Changes in end-use technologies and how these may impact energy security and sustainability.
  • Potential social and geopolitical changes associated with energy developments that impact energy security and sustainability.
  • Institutional and governance issues associated with energy security and sustainability
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) needs, including cybersecurity
  • Sectoral approaches to energy security: supply/demand, power, industrial, buildings, transport
  • International negotiations and treaties
  • RDD&D needs

Mr. Jeffrey Logan
Dr. Doug Arent
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short 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 thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability 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). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Energy Security
  • Sustainability
  • Cybersecurity
  • Resiliency
  • Geopolitics
  • Technology

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Energy Efficiency and Its Driving Factors in China’s Three Economic Regions
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2059; doi:10.3390/su9112059
Received: 16 October 2017 / Revised: 6 November 2017 / Accepted: 8 November 2017 / Published: 9 November 2017
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Abstract
Energy efficiency improvement is essential for China’s sustainable development of its social economy. Based on the provincial panel data of China’s three economic regions from 1990 to 2013, this research uses the data envelopment analysis (DEA) model to measure the total-factor energy efficiency,
[...] Read more.
Energy efficiency improvement is essential for China’s sustainable development of its social economy. Based on the provincial panel data of China’s three economic regions from 1990 to 2013, this research uses the data envelopment analysis (DEA) model to measure the total-factor energy efficiency, and the Tobit regression model to explore the driving factors of efficiency changes. Empirical results show: (1) Energy efficiency, energy consumption structure, and government fiscal scale are significantly positively correlated. (2) Industrial structure and per capita income level have negative correlation to energy efficiency; the impact of industrial structure on energy efficiency is relatively small. (3) The increase of carbon dioxide emissions will decrease the energy efficiency. Furthermore, with people becoming less conscious of energy conservation and emission reduction, energy efficiency will also decrease. (4) Specific energy policies will improve energy efficiency, and greater openness in coastal areas will also have the similar effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Policy Uncertainty and the US Ethanol Industry
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2056; doi:10.3390/su9112056
Received: 26 September 2017 / Revised: 4 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 9 November 2017
PDF Full-text (998 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2), as implemented, has introduced uncertainty into US ethanol producers and the supporting commodity market. First, the fixed mandate for what is mainly cornstarch-based ethanol has increased feedstock price volatility and exerts a general effect across the agricultural sector.
[...] Read more.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2), as implemented, has introduced uncertainty into US ethanol producers and the supporting commodity market. First, the fixed mandate for what is mainly cornstarch-based ethanol has increased feedstock price volatility and exerts a general effect across the agricultural sector. Second, the large discrepancy between the original Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) intentions and the actual RFS2 implementation for some fuel classes has increased the investment uncertainty facing investors in biofuel production, distribution, and consumption. Here we discuss and analyze the sources of uncertainty and evaluate the effect of potential RFS2 adjustments as they influence these uncertainties. This includes the use of a flexible, production dependent mandate on corn starch ethanol. We find that a flexible mandate on cornstarch ethanol relaxed during drought could significantly reduce commodity price spikes and alleviate the decline of livestock production in cases of feedstock production shortfalls, but it would increase the risk for ethanol investors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle The Role of Large and Small Scale Hydropower for Energy and Water Security in the Spanish Duero Basin
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1807; doi:10.3390/su9101807
Received: 19 August 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 29 September 2017 / Published: 6 October 2017
PDF Full-text (1381 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Hydropower has been increasingly seen as a two-fold solution to the provision of renewable energy and water storage. However, the massive deployment of both large and small scale hydropower projects has been reported to cause important environmental impacts at the basin scale. This
[...] Read more.
Hydropower has been increasingly seen as a two-fold solution to the provision of renewable energy and water storage. However, the massive deployment of both large and small scale hydropower projects has been reported to cause important environmental impacts at the basin scale. This study assesses the differential contributions to regional energy and water security of large (LHP) and small (SHP) scale hydropower deployment in the Spanish Duero basin, as well as associated cumulative environmental impacts. This is performed through a selection of indicators measured in absolute and relative terms. The results suggest that LHP deployment contributes more to energy and water security, performing better in 10 of the 12 indicators. It also shows higher absolute environmental impacts on flow regime and habitat loss. Meanwhile, when analyzed in relative terms, SHP shows greater impacts in all categories as a result of cumulative effects cascading along the rivers system. These findings suggest that optimizing the use of existing hydropower infrastructure would be beneficial for energy, water and environmental security. This could be implemented by substantially reducing the number of low capacity plants with almost no impact on final energy generation, while enhancing the pumping and storage potential of higher capacity plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Total Factor Efficiency of Water Resource and Energy in China: A Study Based on DEA-SBM Model
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1316; doi:10.3390/su9081316
Received: 3 April 2017 / Revised: 20 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
PDF Full-text (2236 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
One of the serious issues that China faces during its fast economic development is the low input–output efficiency of water and energy resources and growing water pollution. With the current economic development model of China, economic growth still requires large input of water
[...] Read more.
One of the serious issues that China faces during its fast economic development is the low input–output efficiency of water and energy resources and growing water pollution. With the current economic development model of China, economic growth still requires large input of water resource and energy resource. This paper has focused on the total factor efficiency of water resource and energy resource by each province in China. We treat the undesirable outputs as outputs in the DEA-SBM Model instead of as inputs in previous studies, and design a new MATLAB programming to achieve optimization solutions of multi-variable constrained nonlinear functions to evaluate the Total Factor Efficiency of Water resource (TFEW) and the Total Factor Efficiency of Energy (TFEE) in China accurately. By using the method, this paper has analyzed the TFEW and TFEE in China from 2003 to 2014 by economic zones and typical provinces and provided corresponding policy recommendations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Electrical Energy Storage Systems Feasibility; the Case of Terceira Island
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1276; doi:10.3390/su9071276
Received: 25 May 2017 / Revised: 23 June 2017 / Accepted: 7 July 2017 / Published: 20 July 2017
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Abstract
The Azores Regional Government, through the Sustainable Energy Action Plan for the Azorean Islands, assumed that by the year 2018, 60% of electricity would be generated from renewable energy sources. Nevertheless, by increasing renewable energy sources share in the electricity mix, peak energy
[...] Read more.
The Azores Regional Government, through the Sustainable Energy Action Plan for the Azorean Islands, assumed that by the year 2018, 60% of electricity would be generated from renewable energy sources. Nevertheless, by increasing renewable energy sources share in the electricity mix, peak energy that exceeds grid capacity cannot be used unless when considering energy storage systems. Therefore, this article aims at determining, among batteries and Pumped Hydro Systems, the most cost-effective energy storage system to deploy in Terceira Island, along with geothermal, wind, thermal and bio waste energy, while considering demand and supply constraints. It is concluded that a pumped hydro system sited in Serra do Morião-Nasce Água is the best option for storage of the excess generated energy when compared with batteries. However, further studies should analyze environmental constraints. It is demonstrated that by increasing the storage power capacity, a pumped hydro system improves its cost efficiency when compared with batteries. It is also demonstrated that, to ensure quality, economic feasibility, reliability and a reduction of external costs, it is preferable to replace fuel-oil by wind to generate electricity up to a conceivable technical limit, while building a pumped hydro system, or dumping the excess peak energy generated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle A Novel Study of Waveguide Propagation Rules of Coal Rock AE Signal: Effects of Waveguide Size and Installation Method on the Propagation Rules of Coal Rock AE Signal
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1209; doi:10.3390/su9071209
Received: 13 June 2017 / Revised: 26 June 2017 / Accepted: 29 June 2017 / Published: 10 July 2017
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Abstract
The propagation of acoustic emission (AE) signal in waveguide is quite important for AE-based prediction of dynamic disasters in coal rocks. In this study, based on some relevant theories in wave mechanics, the elastic mechanical model of one-dimensional (1D) waveguide was firstly established,
[...] Read more.
The propagation of acoustic emission (AE) signal in waveguide is quite important for AE-based prediction of dynamic disasters in coal rocks. In this study, based on some relevant theories in wave mechanics, the elastic mechanical model of one-dimensional (1D) waveguide was firstly established, and the relationship between AE source signal and the signal at the waveguide’s receiving end was derived. On the basis of theoretical analysis, numerical simulation and laboratory test schemes were designed; additionally, using the standard vibration source method, AE response in different sizes of waveguides were investigated, the effects of waveguide size of waveguide were concluded, and the application conditions of the established theoretical model were clarified. Numerical simulation results fit well with the laboratory test results. Meanwhile, the effects of the sensor’s installation method on the propagation rules of AE signal were examined and appropriate installation method was determined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle A Novel Method for Selecting Protective Seam against Coal and Gas Outburst: A Case Study of Wangjiazhai Coal Mine in China
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 1015; doi:10.3390/su9061015
Received: 30 March 2017 / Revised: 5 June 2017 / Accepted: 7 June 2017 / Published: 13 June 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1595 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Protective seam mining is a major and critical regional measure to prevent coal and gas outbursts (CGO) in coal mines. In this study, a novel method for selecting protective seam against coal and gas outburst was studied on the basis of gas geology
[...] Read more.
Protective seam mining is a major and critical regional measure to prevent coal and gas outbursts (CGO) in coal mines. In this study, a novel method for selecting protective seam against coal and gas outburst was studied on the basis of gas geology and rock strata control theories and principles for protective seam mining and relevant regulations, which is that theories of gas geology were used to assess the outburst risk inherent in different seams of this mine, and then make preliminary selection of protective seams, and the technical feasibility of the proposed selection method was then analyzed using the theories and principles for protective seam mining and relevant regulations. The case application study results show that the extraction of the upper protective seam (UPS) caused significant decreases in the predicative indicators of outburst risk in the outburst-prone seam and thereby prevented CGO, and the novel method can provide a theoretical basis for selecting protective seam against CGO. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Using BP Neural Networks to Prioritize Risk Management Approaches for China’s Unconventional Shale Gas Industry
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 979; doi:10.3390/su9060979
Received: 15 March 2017 / Revised: 31 May 2017 / Accepted: 1 June 2017 / Published: 7 June 2017
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Abstract
This article is motivated by a conundrum: How can shale gas development be encouraged and managed without complete knowledge of the associated risks? To answer this question, we used back propagation (BP) neural networks and expert scoring to quantify the relative risks of
[...] Read more.
This article is motivated by a conundrum: How can shale gas development be encouraged and managed without complete knowledge of the associated risks? To answer this question, we used back propagation (BP) neural networks and expert scoring to quantify the relative risks of shale gas development across 12 provinces in China. The results show that the model performs well with high predictive accuracy. Shale gas development risks in the provinces of Sichuan, Chongqing, Shaanxi, Hubei, and Jiangsu are relatively high (0.4~0.6), while risks in the provinces of Xinjiang, Guizhou, Yunnan, Anhui, Hunan, Inner Mongolia, and Shanxi are even higher (0.6~1). We make several recommendations based on our findings. First, the Chinese government should promote shale gas development in Sichuan, Chongqing, Shaanxi, Hubei, and Jiangsu Provinces, while considering environmental, health, and safety risks by using demonstration zones to test new technologies and tailor China’s regulatory structures to each province. Second, China’s extremely complex geological conditions and resource depths prevent direct application of North American technologies and techniques. We recommend using a risk analysis prioritization method, such as BP neural networks, so that policymakers can quantify the relative risks posed by shale gas development to optimize the allocation of resources, technology and infrastructure development to minimize resource, economic, technical, and environmental risks. Third, other shale gas industry developments emphasize the challenges of including the many parties with different, often conflicting expectations. Government and enterprises must collaboratively collect and share information, develop risk assessments, and consider risk management alternatives to support science-based decision-making with the diverse parties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Theoretical Explanations for the Inverted-U Change of Historical Energy Intensity
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 967; doi:10.3390/su9060967
Received: 9 April 2017 / Revised: 26 May 2017 / Accepted: 1 June 2017 / Published: 6 June 2017
PDF Full-text (802 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Historical experience shows that the economy-wide energy intensity develops nonmonotonically like an inverted U, which still lacks direct theoretical explanations. Based on a model of structural change driven by technological differences, this paper provides an attempt to explore the underlying mechanisms of energy
[...] Read more.
Historical experience shows that the economy-wide energy intensity develops nonmonotonically like an inverted U, which still lacks direct theoretical explanations. Based on a model of structural change driven by technological differences, this paper provides an attempt to explore the underlying mechanisms of energy intensity change and thus to explain the above empirical regularity accompanied by structural transformation, through introducing a nested constant elasticity of substitution production function with heterogeneous elasticities of substitution. According to some reasonable assumptions, this extended model not only describes the typical path of structural change but also depicts the inverted-U development of economy-wide energy intensity. With the availability of Swedish historical data, we take calibration and simulation exercises which confirm the theoretical predictions. Furthermore, we find that: (1) elasticities of substitution may affect the shapes and peak periods of the inverted-U curves, which can explain to a certain extent the heterogeneous transitions of economy-wide energy intensity developments in different economies; and (2) over long periods of time, the economy-wide energy intensity determined by the initial industrial structure and sectoral energy intensity tends to grow upward, while structure change among sectors provides a driving force on reshaping this trend and turning it downward. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle The Energy Rebound Effect for the Construction Industry: Empirical Evidence from China
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 803; doi:10.3390/su9050803
Received: 8 April 2017 / Revised: 6 May 2017 / Accepted: 8 May 2017 / Published: 14 May 2017
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Abstract
As the largest energy consumer and carbon emitter, China has made substantial efforts to improve energy efficiency to save energy, while the energy rebound effect mitigates its effectiveness. This paper is based on the logical relationship among capital input, technical change, economic growth,
[...] Read more.
As the largest energy consumer and carbon emitter, China has made substantial efforts to improve energy efficiency to save energy, while the energy rebound effect mitigates its effectiveness. This paper is based on the logical relationship among capital input, technical change, economic growth, and energy consumption, adapting an alternative estimation model to estimate the energy rebound effect for the construction industry in China. Empirical results reveal that the average energy rebound effect for the construction industry in China was about 59.5% during the period of 1990–2014. It is indicated that the energy rebound effect does exist in China’s construction industry and it presents a fluctuating declining trend. This indicates that approximately half of the potential energy saving by technical change is achieved. It could be concluded that proper energy pricing reforms and energy taxes should be implemented to promote sustainable development in the construction industry for China’s government. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle ESCoBox: A Set of Tools for Mini-Grid Sustainability in the Developing World
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 738; doi:10.3390/su9050738
Received: 5 April 2017 / Revised: 25 April 2017 / Accepted: 28 April 2017 / Published: 3 May 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6184 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mini-grids powered by photovoltaic generators or other renewable energy sources have the potential to bring electricity to the 17% of the world’s population, mainly in rural areas, that are currently un-served. However, designing and managing a mini-grid so that it is reliable and
[...] Read more.
Mini-grids powered by photovoltaic generators or other renewable energy sources have the potential to bring electricity to the 17% of the world’s population, mainly in rural areas, that are currently un-served. However, designing and managing a mini-grid so that it is reliable and economically sustainable is difficult because of the high variability of demand that arises from the small population of consumers. We describe an integrated set of four tools to assist mini-grid operators to predict and manage demand. These comprise a decision support tool to predict peak and average demand from a consumer population, a demand disaggregation tool that allows the key statistical properties of connected electricity-consuming appliances to be identified, a battery condition modeling tool which allows the impact on battery life of a planned operating regime to be predicted and a demand control sub-system which limits the operating time of high demand appliances to intervals when they can be supported. Results from application of the tool set to mini-grids in Kenya and The Gambia are presented. We conclude that accessible, usable and low cost tools of this form can improve mini-grid sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Carbon Dioxide Emissions, Economic Growth, and Selected Types of Fossil Energy Consumption in China: Empirical Evidence from 1965 to 2015
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 697; doi:10.3390/su9050697
Received: 16 March 2017 / Revised: 18 April 2017 / Accepted: 20 April 2017 / Published: 28 April 2017
PDF Full-text (406 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper empirically investigates the interactions among CO2 emissions, economic growth, and three selected types of fossil energy consumption (coal, gas, and oil) using time series data from China over the period 1965–2015. Classic econometric analysis technologies including the Johansen cointegration test,
[...] Read more.
This paper empirically investigates the interactions among CO2 emissions, economic growth, and three selected types of fossil energy consumption (coal, gas, and oil) using time series data from China over the period 1965–2015. Classic econometric analysis technologies including the Johansen cointegration test, the vector error correction model (VECM), and the Granger causality test based on VECM are employed to meet our objectives, and the presence of breaks in the data is also considered. Cointegration test result supports the existence of a long-run equilibrium relationship among the five variables, and the error correction mechanisms of the system involving the five variables are proven to be effective by VECM. Additionally, the Granger causality test based on VECM reveals that the bidirectional causalities between GDP and coal consumption, between GDP and gas consumption, and between coal consumption and CO2 emissions and unidirectional causalities running from GDP and oil consumption to CO2 emissions, from GDP to oil consumption, and from coal consumption to oil and gas consumption are found. Furthermore, several policy implications are proposed in the final section of this paper based on the empirical results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Decomposition Analysis of Aggregate Energy Consumption in China: An Exploration Using a New Generalized PDA Method
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 685; doi:10.3390/su9050685
Received: 22 March 2017 / Revised: 21 April 2017 / Accepted: 22 April 2017 / Published: 26 April 2017
PDF Full-text (959 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As the largest energy consumer, China is facing greater pressure to guarantee energy supply and energy security. Investigating the driving factors of energy consumption is very important. Decomposition analysis is an analytical tool for decomposing an aggregate indicator into its contributing factors. This
[...] Read more.
As the largest energy consumer, China is facing greater pressure to guarantee energy supply and energy security. Investigating the driving factors of energy consumption is very important. Decomposition analysis is an analytical tool for decomposing an aggregate indicator into its contributing factors. This paper introduces index decomposition analysis (IDA) into production decomposition analysis (PDA) and provides a new decomposition framework for analyzing energy consumption. Two application studies are presented to illustrate the use of our proposed approach. The first deals with the decomposition of aggregate energy consumption from 1991 to 2012; the second application studies seven sectors of China from 2001 to 2012. The empirical studies result in four meaningful findings: (1) the rapid economic growth has already resulted in severe energy supply crises; (2) China’s energy sector consumption structure has changed significantly; (3) potential economic effect is the largest driving factor for energy consumption growth; (4) potential energy intensity effect and technical change of economic output effect were the two primary driving factors in reducing energy consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and Sustainability)
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