Energy-Sufficiency for a Just Transition: A Systematic Review

Matthew J. Burke
2020 Energies  
Efforts to achieve an energy transition often neglect to account for the levelling of benefits realizable with higher levels of energy use, despite knowledge of a saturation effect and recognition of increasing harms of use. This research examines energy sufficiency as a maximum quantity of energy associated with improvements in human well-being to inform a recalibration of energy targets among high-energy societies. A systematic review of recent research was performed to identify the point at
more » ... ntify the point at which increasing levels of energy use no longer correlate with meaningful increases in well-being. For selected studies (n = 18), energy sufficiency values range from 60–120 gigajoules per capita per year with a mean of 132 gigajoules per capita per year for associated measures of well-being. The review finds agreement in a pattern of saturation and provides a range of values for energy sufficiency maximums, suggesting that a relatively modest amount and a diverse quality of energy is needed to support high levels of human well-being. Beyond the conventional emphasis on energy efficiency and renewable energy, energy sufficiency therefore offers a necessary and complementary approach for supporting just and ecological energy transitions.
doi:10.3390/en13102444 fatcat:bayxfauc3bdj7c3szwhdooxbqm