IIASA Energy Modeling and Long-Term Scenarios

  • Hans-Holger Rogner
Conference paper


Industrialization, economic growth, and the prosperity of the northern part of the globe have been based to a large extent on an adequate energy supply system. The buildup of an industrialized infrastructure is a dynamic process with various stages of maturity. Thus, the energy supply system had to keep pace with the needs of dynamically developing economic structures. In the middle of the last century, the world energy supply system was mainly based on wood, covering a market share of roughly 70%. The introduction of heavy machinery in production processes, the world-wide expansion of markets for goods and services and the increasing importance of the transportation system called for a new type of fuel with a higher energy density, with easier transportability and better storage conditions. Coal, endowed with such characteristics, consequently started to substitute wood. Similar substitutions should follow in the cases of oil and gas as the northern economies’ industrialized structures matured. Figure 1 shows the decline and rise of the market shares of various types of primary energy sources for the world. The substitution processes given appear to follow some remarkable regularity. It suggests that the time re-quired for any energy technology to become a substitute for another one, is about con-stant, irrespective of the industrial maturity of the economy. According to Figure 1 it takes about 50 to 60 years for any new energy carrier to increase its market share from 1% to 50% [Marchetti/Nakicenovic]. Since the events in the seventies, it has become celar that the global energy system has reached the threshold of another significant structural change.


Gross Domestic Product Primary Energy Source Apply System Analysis Gross Domestic Product Growth Rate Fossil Fuel Resource 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1982

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  • Hans-Holger Rogner

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