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Energy transitions research: Insights and cautionary tales

  • Grubler, Arnulf
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    This short essay first reviews the pioneers of energy transition research both in terms of data as well as theories. Three major insights that have emerged from this nascent research fields are summarized highlighting the importance of energy end-use and services, the lengthy process of transitions, as well as the patterns that characterize successful scale up of technologies and industries that drive historical energy transitions. The essay concludes with cautionary notes also derived from historical experience. In order to trigger a next energy transition policies and innovation efforts need to be persistent and continuous, aligned, as well as balanced. It is argued that current policy frameworks in place invariably do not meet these criteria and need to change in order to successfully trigger a next energy transition towards sustainability.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421512002054
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 50 (2012)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 8-16

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:50:y:2012:i:c:p:8-16
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.02.070
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

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    1. Grubler, Arnulf, 2010. "The costs of the French nuclear scale-up: A case of negative learning by doing," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 5174-5188, September.
    2. Nicholas Crafts, 2003. "Steam as a general purpose technology: a growth accounting perspective," Economic History Working Papers 22354, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    3. Warr, B.S. & Ayres, R.U., 2010. "Evidence of causality between the quantity and quality of energy consumption and economic growth," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 1688-1693.
    4. Ayres, Robert U & Ayres, Leslie W & Warr, Benjamin, 2003. "Exergy, power and work in the US economy, 1900–1998," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 219-273.
    5. Geels, Frank W., 2002. "Technological transitions as evolutionary reconfiguration processes: a multi-level perspective and a case-study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(8-9), pages 1257-1274, December.
    6. Roger Fouquet, 2011. "Divergences in Long-Run Trends in the Prices of Energy and Energy Services," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(2), pages 196-218, Summer.
    7. Bashmakov, Igor, 2007. "Three laws of energy transitions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 3583-3594, July.
    8. Charlie Wilson & Arnulf Grubler, 2011. "Lessons from the history of technological change for clean energy scenarios and policies," Natural Resources Forum, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 35(3), pages 165-184, 08.
    9. Grubler, Arnulf & Nakicenovic, Nebojsa & Victor, David G., 1999. "Dynamics of energy technologies and global change," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 247-280, May.
    10. Roger Fouquet & Peter J. G. Pearson, 1998. "A Thousand Years of Energy Use in the United Kingdom," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 1-41.
    11. Devine, Warren D., 1983. "From Shafts to Wires: Historical Perspective on Electrification," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(02), pages 347-372, June.
    12. Arthur, W Brian, 1989. "Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-In by Historical Events," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(394), pages 116-31, March.
    13. René Kemp, 2010. "The Dutch energy transition approach," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 291-316, August.
    14. Pugach, Noel H., 1971. "Standard Oil and Petroleum Development in Early Republican China," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(04), pages 452-473, December.
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