Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

CERE Working Papers,
CERE - the Center for Environmental and Resource Economics

No 2017:6: Perspectives on the Transformation of the Organic Energy System in 19th Century Sweden

Magnus Lindmark () and Fredrik Olsson Spjut ()
Additional contact information
Magnus Lindmark: CERE and the Department of Geography and Economic History, Postal: Department of Geography and Economic History, Umeå University, S-901 87, Umeå, Sweden
Fredrik Olsson Spjut: the Department of Geography and Economic History, Postal: Department of Geography and Economic History, Umeå University, S-901 87, Umeå, Sweden

Abstract: This article discusses the transformation from an organic to a mineral energy system from a Swedish historical perspective. Main arguments are that there was a dynamic interaction between the two systems during the Swedish industrialization process. For one, a diffusion of the mineral energy system contributed to opening previously inaccessible organic resources in the forest of northern Sweden. Secondly, the development of the pulp- and paper industry contributed to the switch from charcoal to coke in the iron industry. Thirdly, the development of hydropower, itself an organic source of energy, further contributed to the emergence of a mixed energy system. One can therefore see the Swedish transition from an organic to a mineral energy system as a shift from a traditional organic energy system to an industrialized organic energy system, which is to say an organic energy system which for its operation was depending on technologies and organizational structures of the mineral energy system.

Keywords: Organic energy system; energy history; Sweden; forest history; firewood

JEL-codes: N14; N73

25 pages, October 24, 2017

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