Descriptive and predictive growth curves in energy system analysis

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Publication date: 2011-06-01
First Published In: Natural Resources Research
Authors: M. Höök et al.


This study reviews a variety of growth curve models and the theoretical frameworks that lay behind them. In many systems, growth patterns are, or must, ultimately be subjected to some form of limitation. Some curve models have been developed to describe and predict such behaviors. Symmetric growth curves have frequently been used for forecasting fossil fuel production, but others have expressed a need for more flexible and asymmetric models.

Some examples show differences and applications of various growth curve models. It is concluded that these growth curve models can be utilized as forecasting tools, but are do not necessarily provide better predictions than any other method. Consequently, growth curve models and other forecasting methods should be used together to provide a triangulated forecast. Furthermore, the growth curve methodology offers a simple tool for resource management to determine what might happen to future production if resource availability poses a problem. In the light of peak oil and the awareness of natural resources as a basis for the continued well-being of society and humanity, resource management should be a major factor in future social planning.

Published in: Natural Resources Research, Volume 20, Issue 2, June 2011, Pages 103-116
Available from: Springer

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