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Energy and Complex Systems Dynamics

  • Nicola LabancaEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Green Energy and Technology book series (GREEN)

Abstract

This chapter discusses the role played by energy within complex systems dynamics and compares this role to that played by information. In this respect, it briefly shows how information theory can confirm and incorporate thermodynamics and illustrates how given energy flow principles become unifying principles allowing studying the evolution of any complex system under a same phenomenology. This evolution can be characterized in terms of a proper balance to be achieved between improvements in the efficiency whereby systems inputs are converted into outputs (in a situation of resources scarcity) and a diversification/intensificaton in systems outputs production (in a situation of resources abundance). The ongoing transition to renewables is then presented as a very relevant reinforcing factor of the large-scale construction of complex systems and of the manifestation of the above mentioned dynamics. These considerations are employed by the author to discuss how the role of energy efficiency policies, although still fundamental, becomes ultimately functional to an intensification and diversification of outputs production in the age of renewables and how new types of policies have therefore to be devised and implemented to ensure the sustainability of the ongoing energy transition. To do so, it is necessary to acknowledge that the construction of complex systems is based on a particular and very abstract commodification of natural resources and human activities. This construction relies on the assumption that functions accomplished by people within societies can be reproduced and sustained through an underlying network wherein energy, matter, information and monetary values circulate and it reflexively validates this assumption by contributing to the materialization of this network and by creating a situation of increased dependency thereon. The final part of the chapter is therefore dedicated to discuss how new policies questioning this assumption and allowing escaping the increasing dependence on complex systems dynamics of growth can be devised.

Keywords

Renewable Energy Source Energy Efficiency Improvement Complex System Dynamic Energy Network Power Output Increase 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Commission, Directorate-General Joint Research CentreUnit C.02 Energy Efficiency and RenewablesIspraItaly

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