Changing Stocks, Flows and Behaviors in Industrial Ecosystems

Changing Stocks, Flows and Behaviors in Industrial Ecosystems

Edited by Matthias Ruth and Brynhildur Davidsdottir

Industrial ecology provides a consistent material and energetic description of human production and consumption processes in the larger context of environmental and socioeconomic change. The contributors to this book offer methodologies for such descriptions, focusing on the dynamics associated with stocks of materials and capital, flows of raw materials, intermediate products, desired outputs and wastes, as well as the associated changes in behaviors of producers, consumers and institutions.

Chapter 8: Managing Energy Futures and Greenhouse Gas Emissions with the Help of Agent-Based Simulation

David F. Batten and George V. Grozev

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, organisation studies, economics and finance, industrial organisation, environment, environmental management, environmental sociology


David F. Batten and George V. Grozev INTRODUCTION A close relationship exists between industrial ecology, complex systems science, and the adaptive management of natural resources, such as energy and water. Such relationships each involve interdependencies between system elements and flow dynamics across networks of various kinds. The pivotal role of energy systems in industrial ecology and vice versa, suggests that the time is ripe for some of the tools and techniques of complex systems science to be focused on eco-industrial research, involving complex energy flows across transmission, distribution, and recycling networks. In this chapter, power markets, their associated physical networks of infrastructure, and the natural environment in which they operate are viewed as key components of a complex adaptive system (CAS). In particular, it is shown how agent-based simulation of such a CAS helps discover and explore alternative energy futures. Energy industries have been undergoing regulatory reform worldwide for more than a decade, aiming to improve economic efficiency. In many places, these changes have culminated in the appearance of wholesale and forward contracting power markets. There are contradictory conclusions about the performance of these restructured electricity markets. Market performance depends largely on how each market participant responds to market design, including bidding and operational rules, market observations, operating procedures, and information revelation. It is often the case that generator firms have gained more from these restructured markets than retailers, local communities or households, partly because they have increasingly more opportunities to adapt their behavior to changing market conditions in...

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