Current Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 181–190 | Cite as

Toward Deep-Decarbonization: an Energy-Service System Framework

  • Christopher BlackburnEmail author
  • Anthony Harding
  • Juan Moreno-Cruz
Energy Policy (P Jaramillo, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Energy Policy


Purpose of Review

This paper reviews the historical and applied literature on energy transitions from an integrated system-level framework. We synthesize the literature using a simple energy-service system framework to highlight the main problems and possible pathways for a transition to a decarbonized energy system.

Recent Findings

Recent literature suggests that the combination of demand-pull and technology-push policy instruments will be necessary to tip markets in favor of low-carbon energy alternatives. These studies illustrate that complex feedback mechanisms between the different components of an energy system, such as lock-in and push-back, complicate prescriptive policy design.


The transition to a decarbonized energy system is one of the most pressing problems facing modern society. Energy systems are complex systems with many layers of feedback between social, technical, and institutional systems. Given these complexities, policy design and analysis must evolve to incorporate these feedbacks more explicitly.


Deep-decarbonization Energy transition Path dependency Multi-level perspective Energy-economy models Energy economics 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •Of importance ••Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Blackburn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anthony Harding
    • 1
  • Juan Moreno-Cruz
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Economics, Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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