October 4, 2011

Dutch Sectoral Energy Intensity Developments in International Perspective, 1987–2005

This paper makes use of a new dataset to investigate energy intensity developments in the Netherlands over the period 1987–2005, in comparison with 18 other OECD countries. A key feature of our analysis is that we combine this cross-country perspective with a high level of sector detail, covering 51 sectors.
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Particularly innovative is our evaluation of energy intensity developments in a wide range of Service sectors. We find that between 1987 and 2005 energy intensity in the Netherlands decreased on average with 0.9% points per year at the aggregate economy level and with 0.2% points at the aggregate manufacturing sector level, whereas it increased with 0.4% points at the aggregate Service sector level. This performance is considerably below the OECD average, and has been especially poor between 1987 and 1995. In terms of energy intensity levels, performance of the Netherlands is close to the OECD average at the aggregate economy level and in Manufacturing. In Services, the energy intensity level in the Netherlands was about 50% lower than the OECD average in 1987, but this lead has almost disappeared by 2005. Finally, we find that in the Manufacturing sector, between 1987 and 2005, about half of the energy efficiency improvements were undone by a shift towards a more energy-intensive industry structure, most notably through growth of the Chemical sector. In the Service sector, on the contrary, shifts in the underlying sector structure helped in slowing down energy intensity increase by about one-third between 1987 and 2005.


Henri de Groot
Peter Mulder

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