Achieving a Sustainable Global Energy System

Achieving a Sustainable Global Energy System

Identifying Possibilities Using Long-Term Energy Scenarios

ESRI Studies Series on the Environment

Leo Schrattenholzer, Asami Miketa, Keywan Riahi and Richard Alexander Roehrl

Sustainable development and global climate change have figured prominently in scientific analysis and international policymaking since the early 1990s. This book formulates technology strategies that will lead to environmentally sustainable energy systems, based on an analysis of global climate change issues using the concept of sustainable development. The authors focus on environmentally compatible, long-term technology developments within the global energy system, while also considering aspects of economic and social sustainability.

Chapter 4: Technology clusters

Leo Schrattenholzer, Asami Miketa, Keywan Riahi and Richard Alexander Roehrl

Subjects: economics and finance, energy economics, environmental economics, environment, asian environment, environmental economics


This chapter presents the concept of technology clusters, a concept that has proved useful for the analysis of long-term energy–economy–environment (E3) scenarios from a policy perspective. Generally speaking, technology clusters are groups of technologies that have at least one important feature in common. We shall define four types of technology clusters, illustrate them with examples, and then proceed to show how the cluster concept can be used to analyse patterns of energy technology evolvement in sustainabledevelopment E3 scenarios. 4.1 DEFINING TECHNOLOGY CLUSTERS The real-world energy system consists of many thousands of technologies ranging from fuel extraction, refining, energy conversion and conservation to technologies for energy end use. This complexity makes it difficult to assess policies aimed at individual technologies, for example policies to guide the overall energy system towards sustainability. The cluster concept serves the purpose of reducing the complexity of the description of the global energy system. The importance of analysing technologies in such an aggregated way has been widely recognized by other groups; see, for example, Seebregts et al. (2000) or Gritsevskii and Nakic enovic (2000). Our ´ ´ approach incorporates aspects of both groups when we define some types of technology clusters with respect to technological characteristics prior to – and independently of – modelling, and some types a posteriori from scenario assumptions or results. We will use the technology cluster concept to analyse the robustness of policies aiming at the promotion of sustainable development (SD) by identifying those principal technology clusters that could accomplish...

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