Energy use hardly affected by peaking oil prices

24/12/2008 15:00

The global energy supply was a hot topic worldwide in the first half of 2008. Oil prices were rocketing and there was wide felt concern about climate change as a result of increasing CO2 emissions. World market food prices were also rising. However, the global economic crisis and higher than expected food crops resulted in oil and food prices falling to their average levels of 2007.

World market prices of crude petroleum and food products

World market prices of crude petroleum and food products

In general terms, energy consumption changes less quickly than energy prices. In spite of high prices, Dutch consumption of petrol and diesel in the first three quarters of this year was slightly higher than in the same period last year. The transition to sustainable energy is also less characterised by fits and starts than price developments.

Sustainable electricity production, first three quarters 2007 and 2008

Sustainable electricity production, first three quarters 2007 and 2008

In the first three quarters of 2008, the percentage of electricity generated using sustainable methods rose from about 6 to just over 7. The increase was the result of new wind turbines and installations for the combustion of wood and manure becoming operational. The decisions to invest in these installations had often already been taken at least two years previously. Subsidies for such projects played an important part in the timing of these decisions.