Introducing Energy Systems and Sustainability

Peake, Stephen; Everett, Bob and Boyle, Godfrey (2012). Introducing Energy Systems and Sustainability. In: Everett, Bob; Boyle, Godfrey; Peake, Stephen and Ramage, Janet eds. Energy Systems and Sustainability: Power for a Sustainable Future (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 1–34.


This chapter introduces the main themes of the book. It explains what is meant by ‘energy systems’ and gives an overview of our present global energy system in terms of the primary energy sources it uses. It then elaborates on the concepts of sustainable development and sustainability and continues with an overview of how these might apply specifically to energy systems. In order to explore why sustainable energy matters it then compares three different perspectives on some of the critical factors and forces that may shape energy systems into the future. The chapter ends by briefly outlining three basic options for achieving a transition from our present energy systems to the sustainable energy systems of tomorrow.

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