Energy, EROI and quality of life

Jessica G. Lambert, Charles A.S. Hall, Stephen Balogh, Ajay Gupta, Michelle Arnold
2014 Energy Policy  
Large quantities of high quality energy appears to contribute to social wellbeing. LEI examines the quantity, efficiency and distribution of energy within the system. EROI SOC of o25:1, o100 GJ/capita and LEIo0.2 point to poor/moderate quality of life. A threshold of well-being is: EROI SOC of 20-30:1, 100-200 GJ/capita and LEI 0.2-0.4. Improvement in well-being levels off at: EROI SOC 430:1, 4200 GJ/capita and LEI40.4. a b s t r a c t The near-and long-term societal effects of declining EROI
more » ... e uncertain, but probably adverse. A major obstacle to examining social implications of declining EROI is that we do not have adequate empirical understanding of how EROI is linked, directly or indirectly, to an average citizen′s ability to achieve wellbeing. To evaluate the possible linkages between societal well-being and net energy availability, we compare these preliminary estimates of energy availability: (1) EROI at a societal level, (2) energy use per capita, (3) multiple regression analyses and (4) a new composite energy index (Lambert Energy Index), to select indicators of quality of life (HDI, percent children under weight, health expenditures, Gender Inequality Index, literacy rate and access to improved water). Our results suggest that energy indices are highly correlated with a higher standard of living. We also find a saturation point at which increases in per capita energy availability (greater than 150 GJ) or EROI (above 20:1) are not associated with further improvement to society.
doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2013.07.001 fatcat:lfcs4w4wvrgurniurg33lm3dg4