A fundamental, generally implicit, assumption of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports and many energy analysts is that each unit of energy supplied by non-fossil-fuel sources takes the place of a unit of energy supplied by fossil-fuel sources. However, owing to the complexity of economic systems and human behaviour, it is often the case that changes aimed at reducing one type of resource consumption, either through improvements in efficiency of use or by developing substitutes, do not lead to the intended outcome when net effects are considered. Here, I show that the average pattern across most nations of the world over the past fifty years is one where each unit of total national energy use from non-fossil-fuel sources displaced less than one-quarter of a unit of fossil-fuel energy use and, focusing specifically on electricity, each unit of electricity generated by non-fossil-fuel sources displaced less than one-tenth of a unit of fossil-fuel-generated electricity. These results challenge conventional thinking in that they indicate that suppressing the use of fossil fuel will require changes other than simply technical ones such as expanding non-fossil-fuel energy production.
Nature Climate Change 2, 441–443 (December 2012)
Analysing fossil-fuel displacement
by Andrew K. Jorgenson
It is commonly assumed that fossil fuels can be replaced by alternative forms of energy. Now research challenges this assumption, and highlights the role of non-technological solutions to reduce fossil-fuel consumption.
Nature Climate Change 2, 398–399 (December 2012)
Download original document: “Analysing fossil-fuel displacement”
This material is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.
The copyright of this material resides with the author(s). As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Queries e-mail.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding