Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Energy quality

Stern, David I. (2009): Energy quality.

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Abstract

This paper develops economic definitions of energy quality for individual fuels and energy aggregates. There are both use- and exchange-value concepts as well as marginal and total measures of energy quality. A factor augmentation or quality coefficients approach corresponds to the use-value definition while indicators based on distance functions and relative prices are exchange-value based definitions. These indicators are identical when the elasticity of substitution between fuels is infinity but diverge or cannot be computed for other interfuel elasticities of substitution. Under zero substitutability only the quality coefficients approach is defined. I also find that the ratio of an energy volume index to aggregate joules cannot be considered a complete indicator of aggregate energy quality as it does not account for quality changes in the component fuels.

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