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Energy Systems Integration: Economics of a New Paradigm

Abstract:
Energy Systems Integration (ESI) is an emerging paradigm emanating from a whole system perspective of the energy sector. It is based on a holistic view by which the main energy carriers are integrated to achieve horizontal synergies and efficiencies at all levels. The energy system may in turn integrate with other infrastructure sectors such as water, transport, and telecommunications to meet the demand for a broad range of energy and essential services. It also implies that energy security, sustainability, and equity objectives can be balanced more effectively. There is already progress in the technical aspects of ESI. However, such systems require not only physical solutions but they also need economic, regulatory, and policy frameworks to ensure efficient performance over time. Thus, it is important to better understand the economic features of integrated energy systems. To our knowledge this aspect is barely addressed in the literature on ESI. We discuss selected aspects that relate to industrial organization, regulation, business economics, and technology. Finally, we offer some considerations and policy recommendations.
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Keywords: energy systems integration, economic principles, regulation, business models

DOI: 10.5547/2160-5890.8.2.tjam


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Published in Volume 8, Number 2 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.