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Industry Strategies for Energy Transition in the Wake of the Oil Crisis
Department of Economic History, Umeå university, Umeå universitet, Ekonomisk historia, Umeå universitet.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Social Sciences.
2014 (English)In: Business and Economic History On-Line, ISSN 0894-6825, E-ISSN 1941-7349, Vol. 12Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper explores industry strategies to accomplish energy transition in the wake of the Oil Crisis in 1973 with the Swedish pulp and paper sector in the 1970s and the 1980s as case study. Over this period the use of fossil fuels was reduced by 70 percent within the sector. The lion’s share of this reduction was achieved by the substitution of oil by biofuels. Besides cutting the costs of energy this substitution also resulted in significant environmental improvements. Substituting oil by biofuels proved to be the overall most reasonable way to decrease the use of oil, even though alternatives such as coal were considered. Initially, oil reductions and energy conservation were accomplished by relatively small measures, but there was a great need for long-term R&D to push the technology development further. Inter-firm and state-firm collaborations therefore became strategically important. The strategies for substitution further interacted strongly with institutional changes in the energy policy field, the on-going greening of the industry as well as an urgent need to enhance international competitiveness. Our study concludes that the oil crises enforced a more sustainable production in a dynamic way, where government strategies to support and push technology development further played a central role.

Abstract [en]

This paper explores strategies to accomplish energy transition in the Swedish pulp and paper industry during the 1970s and the 1980s. In the wake of the first oil crisis in 1973 until the late 1980s, the use of fossil fuels within the sector was reduced by 70 percent. The lion's share of this reduction was achieved by the substitution of biofuels for oil, which, besides cutting the costs of energy also resulted in significant environmental improvements. Substituting biofuels for oil proved to be the overall most reasonable way to decrease the use of oil, even though alternatives such as coal were considered. Initially, oil reductions and energy conservation were accomplished by relatively small measures, but there was a great need for long-term R&D to push the technology development further. Inter-firm and state-firm collaborations therefore became strategically important. The strategies for substitution interacted, however, strongly with institutional changes in the energy area, the ongoing greening of the industry as well as an urgent need to enhance international competitiveness. Our study concludes that the oil crises enforced a more sustainable production in a dynamic way, which, according to our knowledge, has been overlooked in the business history literature so far.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 12
National Category
History of Technology
Research subject
History of Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-27266Local ID: 0a5e5ab3-7424-4be1-babe-56bf860ab230OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-27266DiVA: diva2:1000449
Conference
Business History Conference : 13/03/2014 - 15/03/2014
Note
Godkänd; 2015; Bibliografisk uppgift: URL: http://www.thebhc.org/publications/BEHonline/2014/bergquistandsoderholm2.pdf; 20140704 (krisod); Konferensartikel i tidskriftAvailable from: 2016-09-30 Created: 2016-09-30 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved

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