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Sustainability 2011, 3(10), 1810-1832;

Relating Financial and Energy Return on Investment

Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, C9000, Austin, TX 78712, USA
Programs in Environmental and Forest Biology, Environmental Science and Environmental Studies, State University of New York–College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 February 2011 / Revised: 18 July 2011 / Accepted: 18 August 2011 / Published: 11 October 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Studies in EROI (Energy Return on Investment))
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For many reasons, including environmental impacts and the peaking and depletion of the highest grades of fossil energy, it is very important to have sound methods for the evaluation of energy technologies and the profitability of the businesses that utilize them. In this paper we derive relations among the biophysical characteristic of an energy resource in relation to the businesses and technologies that exploit them. These relations include the energy return on energy investment (EROI), the price of energy, and the profit of an energy business. Our analyses show that EROI and the price of energy are inherently inversely related such that as EROI decreases for depleting fossil fuel production, the corresponding energy prices increase dramatically. Using energy and financial data for the oil and gas production sector, we demonstrate that the equations sufficiently describe the fundamental trends between profit, price, and EROI. For example, in 2002 an EROI of 11:1 for US oil and gas translates to an oil price of 24 $2005/barrel at a typical profit of 10%. This work sets the stage for proper EROI and price comparisons of individual fossil and renewable energy businesses as well as the electricity sector as a whole. Additionally, it presents a framework for incorporating EROI into larger economic systems models. View Full-Text
Keywords: EROI; return on investment; net energy; energy business; profit EROI; return on investment; net energy; energy business; profit
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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King, C.W.; Hall, C.A. Relating Financial and Energy Return on Investment. Sustainability 2011, 3, 1810-1832.

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