A Conceptual Framework to Model Long-Run Qualitative Change in the Energy System
This paper deals with a conceptual framework allowing the analysis of long-run qualitative change in the energy system. The energy sector seems to be particularly appropriate for the analysis of qualitative change due to the following reasons: The energy sector is relevant for the development of the whole economy. When looking on the development of primary energy resources it becomes obvious that different energy sources are of different importance over time and that new energy sources enter the scene from time to time. E.g. the importance of wood is decreasing over last 200 years, whereas coal has reached its peak around the turn of the last century, natural gas entered the scene not before that time. Nuclear energy technologies emerge in the energy supply only after 1960s. Furthermore, compared to other sectors qualitative change in the energy sector proceeds in relative long time periods. Accordingly, different mechanisms and effects are comparatively easier to separate as not too many overlapping developments are considered to appear simultaneously, which makes the discrimination of causes and effects more difficult. Related to this, it is not invention that plays a particular important role but it is both innovation as the first commercial application and diffusion as the spreading out of the new technologies. This means that in the analysis strong technological uncertainty does play a minor role, most often the relevant technologies do already exist as blue-prints and the transformation process basically deals with the application and improvement of these technologies.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2003|
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