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A Thousand Years of Energy Use in the United Kingdom

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  • Roger Fouquet
  • Peter J. G. Pearson

Abstract

This paper examines the evolution of energy use and its influences in the United Kingdom over the very long run by combining economic literature and statistical information. The paper argues that the provision of energy services, mainly heat and power, is bound by the tensions between a changing growth rate and structure of economic activity and the constraints of energetic resources. After periods of tension, energy price differentials, as well as the diffusion of technological innovation and the development of new fuels, led to new mixes of energy sources to supply heat and power. This paper identifies three major changes that characterise the history of UK energy use: first, the dramatic increase in per capita energy use; second, the shift in methods of supplying energy services, from biomass sources to fossil fuels, from coal to petroleum to natural gas, and from raw forms to more value-added energy sources; and, third, the replacing of direct methods of generating power, from animate sources, wind and water, by the use of mechanical and electrical methods, which have so far depended mainly on fossil fuels. These changes were instrumental in influencing the relationship between GDP and energy use, and also the levels of environmental pollution.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by International Association for Energy Economics in its journal The Energy Journal.

Volume (Year): Volume19 (1998)
Issue (Month): Number 4 ()
Pages: 1-41

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Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:1998v19-04-a01

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Cited by:
  1. Radoslaw Stefanski, 2013. "Online Appendix to "Structural Transformation and the Oil Price"," Technical Appendices 12-45, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  2. Richard S.J. Tol & Stephen W. Pacala & Robert H. Socolow, 2006. "Understanding Long-Term Energy Use And Carbon Dioxide Emissions In The Usa," Working Papers FNU-100, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Mar 2006.
  3. Fouquet, Roger, 2010. "The slow search for solutions: Lessons from historical energy transitions by sector and service," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 6586-6596, November.
  4. Fouquet, Roger, 2012. "The demand for environmental quality in driving transitions to low-polluting energy sources," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 138-149.
  5. Raphael Calel, 2011. "Climate change and carbon markets: a panoramic history," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 52, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  6. Raphael Calel, 2011. "Climate change and carbon markets: a panoramic history," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 37397, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Esteve, Vicente & Tamarit, Cecilio, 2012. "Is there an environmental Kuznets curve for Spain? Fresh evidence from old data," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 2696-2703.
  8. Krausmann, Fridolin & Haberl, Helmut, 2002. "The process of industrialization from the perspective of energetic metabolism: Socioeconomic energy flows in Austria 1830-1995," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 177-201, May.

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