AIMS Energy, 2015, 3(4): 576-591. doi: 10.3934/energy.2015.4.576.

Research article

Export file:


  • RIS(for EndNote,Reference Manager,ProCite)
  • BibTex
  • Text


  • Citation Only
  • Citation and Abstract

Drivers behind energy consumption by rural households in Shanxi

1 School of Economics and Business, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, Norway;
2 Center for International Climate and Environmental Research—Oslo (CICERO), PO Box 1129, Blindern, NO-0318 Oslo, Norway;
3 Ministry of Transport and Communications PO Box 8010 Dep, N-0030 Oslo, Norway;
4 Antai College of Economics and Management, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai 200052, China;
5 Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics, Hangzhou 310012, China

Biomass is widely used by households for cooking and heating in rural China. Along with rapid economic growth over the last three decades, increasing rural households tend to use less biomass and more commercial energy such as coal and electricity. In this paper, we analyzed the key drivers behind energy consumption and switching by rural households based on survey data of energy consumption by rural households in ten villages of Shanxi province in China. Our econometric results show that income growth can induce less use of biomass and more use of coal and modern fuels. However, no evidence shows that even wealthy households has abandoned biomass use in Shanxi, mainly due to the “free” access to land and agricultural resources in these villages. Previous wealth of a household represented by house value can lead to more time spent on biomass collection. Access to land resources has positive effects on biomass use and collection. Other key variables include education, household size, the number of elderly members, and coal price. We also find huge differences between villages, indicating the importance of access to agricultural resources and markets.
  Article Metrics

Keywords Energy transition; Energy ladder; Energy stacking; Biomass; Rural households; China

Citation: Mette Wik, Taoyuan Wei, Kristine Korneliussen, Rui Zhang, Solveig Glomsrød, Qinghua Shi. Drivers behind energy consumption by rural households in Shanxi. AIMS Energy, 2015, 3(4): 576-591. doi: 10.3934/energy.2015.4.576


  • 1. OECD/IEA (2010) Latest information. International Energy Agency.
  • 2. IEA (2011) World Energy Outlook 2011. International Energy Agency.
  • 3. Zhou Z, Wu W, Chen Q, et al. (2008) Study on sustainable development of rural household energy in northern China. renew sust energ rev 12: 2227-2239.    
  • 4. WHO (2011) Fact sheet N°292. World Health Organization.
  • 5. Démurger S, Fournier M (2011) Poverty and firewood consumption: A case study of rural households in northern China. China economic review 22: 512-523.    
  • 6. Leach G (1992) The energy transition. Energ policy 20: 116-123.    
  • 7. Barnes DF (1996) RURAL ENERGY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: A Challenge for Economic Development 1. Annu rev energ env 21: 497.
  • 8. Heltberg R (2004) Fuel switching: evidence from eight developing countries. Energy Economics 26: 869-887.    
  • 9. Hosier RH, Dowd J (1987) Household fuel choice in Zimbabwe: An empirical test of the energy ladder hypothesis. Resours Energ 9: 347-361.    
  • 10. Masera OR, Saatkamp BD, Kammen DM (2000) From Linear Fuel Switching to Multiple Cooking Strategies: A Critique and Alternative to the Energy Ladder Model. World Development 28: 2083-2103.    
  • 11. Baland JM, Bardhan P, Das S, et al. (2010) The Environmental Impact of Poverty: Evidence from Firewood Collection in Rural Nepal. Economic Development and Cultural Change 59: 23-61.    
  • 12. Grossman GM, Krueger AB (1994) Economic Growth and the Environment. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series No. 4634.
  • 13. Dinda S (2004) Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis: A Survey. Ecol Econ 49: 431-455.
  • 14. Zhang R, Wei T, Sun J, et al. (2015) Wave transition in household energy use. Technological Forecasting & Social Change,in press .
  • 15. Kowsari R, Zerriffi H (2011) Three dimensional energy profile:: A conceptual framework for assessing household energy use. Energ Policy 39: 7505-7517.    
  • 16. Farsi M, Filippini M, Pachauri S (2007) Fuel choices in urban Indian households. Environment and Development Economics 12: 757-774.
  • 17. Chen L, Heerink N, van den Berg M (2006) Energy consumption in rural China: A household model for three villages in Jiangxi Province. Ecol Econ 58: 407-420.    
  • 18. Jiang L, O'Neill BC (2004) The energy transition in rural China. International Journal of Global Energy Issues 21: 2-26.    
  • 19. Liu W, Spaargaren G, Heerink N, et al. (2013) Energy consumption practices of rural households in north China: Basic characteristics and potential for low carbon development. Energy Policy 55: 128-138.    
  • 20. Zhang R, Wei T, Glomsrød S, et al. (2014) Bioenergy consumption in rural China: Evidence from a survey in three provinces. Energ Policy 75: 136-145.    
  • 21. Peng W, Hisham Z, Pan J (2010) Household level fuel switching in rural Hubei. Energy for Sustainable Development 14: 238-244.    
  • 22. Jingchao Z, Kotani K (2012) The determinants of household energy demand in rural Beijing: Can environmentally friendly technologies be effective? Energy Economics 34: 381-388.
  • 23. Pachauri S, Jiang L (2008) The household energy transition in India and China. Energ Policy 36: 4022-4035.    
  • 24. NBSC (2011) China Statistical Yearbook 2011. National Burearu of Statistics of China, Beijing: China Statistics Press.
  • 25. Zhang J, Fu M, Geng Y, et al. (2011) Energy saving and emission reduction: A project of coal-resource integration in Shanxi Province, China. Energ Policy 39: 3029-3032.    
  • 26. Wang L, Shao Ma, Wang Q, et al. (2006) Historical changes in the environment of the Chinese Loess Plateau. Environ Sci Policy 9: 675-684.    
  • 27. Fu B, Chen L (2000) Agricultural landscape spatial pattern analysis in the semi-arid hill area of the Loess Plateau, China. J Arid Environ 44: 291-303.    
  • 28. Guobin L (1999) Soil Conservation and Sustainable Agriculture on the Loess Plateau: Challenges and Prospects. Ambio 28: 663-668.
  • 29. Kang S, Zhang L, Liang Y, et al. (2002) Effects of limited irrigation on yield and water use efficiency of winter wheat in the Loess Plateau of China. Agr Water Manage 55: 203-216.    
  • 30. Yao C, Chen C, Li M (2012) Analysis of rural residential energy consumption and corresponding carbon emissions in China. Energ Policy 41: 445-450.    
  • 31. Singh I, Squire L, Strauss J (1986) Agricultural Household Models: Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.


Reader Comments

your name: *   your email: *  

Copyright Info: 2015, Taoyuan Wei, et al., licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (

Download full text in PDF

Export Citation

Copyright © AIMS Press All Rights Reserved