Energy prices have risen considerably since the beginning of the twenty-first century. It is valuable to place these price rises within a historical context. Many peaks preceded the price hike of 2008, and there will, no doubt, be many more. However, if future trends follow past ones, then it is tempting to conclude that the long-run trend in individual and average energy prices will be generally stable or downwards.En especial, Fouquet señala el papel de la eficiencia energética, que hace que el precio de los servicios energéticos (lo que importa, al fin y al cabo) baje o no suba tanto como el de los inputs energéticos.
This note also highlights the tendency for long-run trends in the price of energy and of energy services to diverge. That is, since the Industrial Revolution, energy efficiency improvements have led the price of energy services to fall far more than the decline in the price of energy. This is an important distinction because commentators have a tendency to focus on energy prices, even though consumers are ultimately interested in the services that energy provide, such as space and water heating or cooling, powering of appliances, illumination and transportation (Goldemberg et al. 1985). This divergence in the long-run has major implications for forecasts of future energy use and carbon dioxide emissions, welfare improvements and the evolution of economies.
The tendency for markets to offer new energy sources and for consumer to substitute between them implies that even if individual fuel prices may rise in the long-run (and there is limited evidence to support this for fossil fuels), average energy prices reflect the substitution between sources towards cheaper energy services. Thus, in general, where resources are not limited by land availability and substitution is possible, we might expect average energy prices to trend downwards. The downward trend over the last two hundred years corroborates earlier studies (Adelman 1995, Livernois 2009) suggesting that, in the eyes of the market (and despite some commentators concerns), energy resources have been perceived to be `unlimited´Al final, entre sus conclusiones: en lo que tenemos que fijarnos (incluido para los modelos) es en el servicio energético, no en la energía en sí misma:
Third, building on this last point, modellers need to try to estimate the income and price elasticity of the demand for heat, power, transport and light (see, for instance, Fouquet and Pearson 2011), as these drive the behaviour associated with energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. After all, focussing only on energy rather than energy services will produce misleading estimates of consumer responses to long-run income, price and efficiency changes.Álvaro, ¿cómo te suena? (para los no IIT, Álvaro López-Peña es un estudiante de doctorado que trabaja en modelos energéticos, en los que está incorporando el servicio energético como alternativa al simple consumo de combustible o electricidad).