Chapter 4: Energy transitions and energy efficiency
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To better understand future energy transitions of emerging economies, it is important to identify and analyze the factors that have driven the past energy transitions in those countries that now have developed economies. The trend of energy efficiency in an historical perspective is an important aspect that should be considered when studying present and future energy transitions. Each energy transition has a cost, generally associated with lower energy efficiency of the new energy sources. History tells us that it is a sort of necessary step, but thanks to technological progress, this constraint can be overcome. By analyzing the trend of energy intensity during a shorter or longer period, we can thus evaluate the extent to which decoupling of energy consumption and economic growth has occurred. Improving energy efficiency is fundamental for reducing energy consumption, air pollution and improving energy security. To evaluate energy efficiency in Mediterranean countries, we consider total final energy consumption and energy intensity by sector. Final energy consumption depends on the structure of the economy, which is reflected in the demand for energy services such as transport, lighting, cooking, warming, industrial goods and so on. Another important determinant of energy efficiency is the energy mix. Within the North African region, Morocco and Tunisia have the highest percentages of charcoal and firewood consumption for cooking, albeit well below the average of African countries. If the final energy intensity of single North African countries is compared, there is a clear process of convergence. At the beginning of the 1970s the gap between countries was wide. Subsequently, the growth of final energy intensity in Algeria and Libya, and the contraction in Egypt and Tunisia, led to a decrease in the divide within the North African region.

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