Historical Perspective on Energy Transitions

22 Pages Posted: 14 May 2018

Date Written: May 14, 2018


Mankind has relied on fossil fuels for a stunningly short time. Until the Industrial Revolution wood, wind, and water – renewables - were the primary energy resources. Home heating and cooking was done from a family hearth using mainly wood. If someone wanted to move about they walked, rode horses, or drove carts pulled by draft animals. Wind and water mills were used to grind grains and operate simple machinery but were not yet harnessed to industry.

The first energy transition started when Great Britain began mining coal during the Elizabethan era, however it took several centuries before fossil fuels became a universal solution to the quest for heat, light, mechanical motion, and movement.

Suggested Citation

Van Vactor, Samuel A., Historical Perspective on Energy Transitions (May 14, 2018). USAEE Working Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3178176 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3178176

Samuel A. Van Vactor (Contact Author)

Economic Insight, Inc. ( email )

3004 SW 1st Ave.
Portland, OR 97201
United States
503-222-2425 (Phone)

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