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

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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.
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