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Environmental Economics

Energy : production, consumption, and consequences by John L Helm

By John L Helm

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Dependence on imported energy will be increasing, not decreasing. 05 quad. 1 quad. Source: Gas Research Institute (1987). b Second is the economy of scale. During the era of energy euphoria, particularly nuclear euphoria, bigger was assumed to be cheaper. The catastrophic escalation of capital costs for nuclear plants has dissuaded us from this belief: we seem now to believe that the economic scaling laws have been repealed or at least can be circumvented if the devices are manufactured serially.

GRI. , T. B. Johansson, A. K. N. Reddy, and R. H. Williams. 1985. An end-use oriented global energy strategy. Annual Review of Energy 10:613-688. Hubbert, M. K. 1969. Energy resources. Pp. 157-242 in Resources and Man. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. 1981. Energy in a Fimite World—A Global Systems Analysis. : Ballinger. Lovins, A. 1977. Energy strategy, the road not taken? Future Strategies for Energy Development, A Question of Scale. : Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

Although the energy demand in the less developed and newly industrialized countries continued to expand, the entire noncommunist world became considerably more energy efficient: in 1966-1970; in 1980-1983. The other characteristic trend has been the continued electrification of the United States and of the world. In 1968, some 18 percent of primary energy in the United States was converted to electricity; by 1987 this fraction had doubled. The figures for the noncommunist world are similar. Moreover, the elasticity ratio of electricity to GNP seems to have been fairly constant, at least for the past 40 years (Figure 2).

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