IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/gam/jsusta/v3y2011i10p1908-1943d14373.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

System Energy Assessment (SEA), Defining a Standard Measure of EROI for Energy Businesses as Whole Systems

Author

Listed:
  • Philip F. Henshaw

    () (HDS Systems Design Science, Synapse9.com, New York, NY 10040, USA)

  • Carey King

    () (Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78713, USA)

  • Jay Zarnikau

    () (LBJ School of Public Affairs & College of Natural Sciences, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78713, USA)

Abstract

A more objective method for measuring the energy needs of businesses, System Energy Assessment (SEA), measures the combined impacts of material supply chains and service supply chains, to assess businesses as whole self-managing net-energy systems. The method is demonstrated using a model Wind Farm, and defines a physical measure of their energy productivity for society (EROI-S), a ratio of total energy delivered to total energy expended. Energy use records for technology and proxy measures for clearly understood but not individually recorded energy uses for services are combined for a whole system estimate of consumption required for production. Current methods count only energy needs for technology. Business services outsource their own energy needs to operate, leaving no traceable record. That uncounted business energy demand is often 80% of the total, an amount of “dark energy” hidden from view, discovered by finding the average energy estimated needs for businesses far below the world average energy consumed per dollar of GDP. Presently for lack of information the energy needs of business services are counted to be “0”. Our default assumption is to treat them as “average”. The result is a hard measure of total business demand for energy services, a “Scope 4” energy use or GHG impact assessment. Counting recorded energy uses and discounting unrecorded ones misrepresents labor intensive work as highly energy efficient. The result confirms a similar finding by Hall et al . in 1981 [1]. We use exhaustive search for what a business needs to operate as a whole, tracing internal business relationships rather than energy data, to locate its natural physical boundary as a working unit, and so define a business as a physical rather than statistical subject of scientific study. See also online resource materials and notes [2].

Suggested Citation

  • Philip F. Henshaw & Carey King & Jay Zarnikau, 2011. "System Energy Assessment (SEA), Defining a Standard Measure of EROI for Energy Businesses as Whole Systems," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(10), pages 1-36, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:10:p:1908-1943:d:14373
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/3/10/1908/pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/3/10/1908/
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Cleveland, Cutler J. & Kaufmann, Robert K. & Stern, David I., 2000. "Aggregation and the role of energy in the economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 301-317, February.
    2. C. A. Hidalgo & B. Klinger & A. -L. Barabasi & R. Hausmann, 2007. "The Product Space Conditions the Development of Nations," Papers 0708.2090, arXiv.org.
    3. Bullard, Clark W. & Penner, Peter S. & Pilati, David A., 1978. "Net energy analysis : Handbook for combining process and input-output analysis," Resources and Energy, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 267-313, November.
    4. Cleveland, Cutler J., 2005. "Net energy from the extraction of oil and gas in the United States," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 769-782.
    5. Zarnikau, Jay & Guermouche, Sid & Schmidt, Philip, 1996. "Can different energy resources be added or compared?," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 483-491.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Macías, Arturo & Matilla-García, Mariano, 2015. "Net energy analysis in a Ramsey–Hotelling growth model," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 562-573.
    2. Carey W. King & John P. Maxwell & Alyssa Donovan, 2015. "Comparing World Economic and Net Energy Metrics, Part 2: Total Economy Expenditure Perspective," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(11), pages 1-22, November.
    3. repec:gam:jeners:v:8:y:2015:i:11:p:12975-12996:d:58938 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Leena Grandell & Charles A.S. Hall & Mikael Höök, 2011. "Energy Return on Investment for Norwegian Oil and Gas from 1991 to 2008," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(11), pages 1-21, October.
    5. repec:gam:jeners:v:8:y:2015:i:11:p:12949-12974:d:58937 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:gam:jeners:v:8:y:2015:i:11:p:12997-13020:d:58940 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. David J. Murphy & Michael Carbajales-Dale & Devin Moeller, 2016. "Comparing Apples to Apples: Why the Net Energy Analysis Community Needs to Adopt the Life-Cycle Analysis Framework," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(11), pages 1-15, November.
    8. Carey W. King & John P. Maxwell & Alyssa Donovan, 2015. "Comparing World Economic and Net Energy Metrics, Part 1: Single Technology and Commodity Perspective," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(11), pages 1-26, November.
    9. Charles A.S. Hall & Bruce E. Dale & David Pimentel, 2011. "Seeking to Understand the Reasons for Different Energy Return on Investment (EROI) Estimates for Biofuels," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(12), pages 1-20, December.
    10. King, Carey W., 2014. "Matrix method for comparing system and individual energy return ratios when considering an energy transition," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 254-265.
    11. Carey W. King, 2015. "Comparing World Economic and Net Energy Metrics, Part 3: Macroeconomic Historical and Future Perspectives," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(11), pages 1-24, November.
    12. Adam R. Brandt & Michael Dale, 2011. "A General Mathematical Framework for Calculating Systems-Scale Efficiency of Energy Extraction and Conversion: Energy Return on Investment (EROI) and Other Energy Return Ratios," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(8), pages 1-35, August.
    13. Colin M. Beal & Robert E. Hebner & Michael E. Webber & Rodney S. Ruoff & A. Frank Seibert & Carey W. King, 2012. "Comprehensive Evaluation of Algal Biofuel Production: Experimental and Target Results," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(6), pages 1-39, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    physical measurement; EROI; natural systems; net energy; energy economics; outsourcing; system boundaries; life cycle assessment;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:3:y:2011:i:10:p:1908-1943:d:14373. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (XML Conversion Team). General contact details of provider: http://www.mdpi.com/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.