Comparison of household consumption and regional production approaches to assess urban energy use and implications for policy

Assessment of urban energy use may proceed by a number of methods. Here we derive an energy account from local statistics, and compare them with an input output (IO) analysis as applied to Melbourne, Australia. These approaches highlight different aspects of urban energy use and comparable outputs are presented together to assess consistency, to identify complementarities and discuss the insight each approach brings to understanding urban energy. The IO method captures the direct and embodied primary energy requirements of local household expenditure (235.8GJ/capita/year) while the regional assessment more directly accounts for local production activity (258.1GJ/capita/year). The parity of these results is unexpected for a developed city with a strong tertiary sector. Sectoral detail reveals differences between the primary energy required by Melbourne's economic structure and that ultimately required through the full supply chain relating to household expenditure. This is accompanied by an IO analysis of the geography of Melbourne's ‘energy catchment’. It is suggested that the IO consumption and regional production approaches have particular relevance to policies aimed at consumption behaviour and economic (re)structuring, respectively. Their complementarity further suggests that a combined analysis would be valuable in understanding urban energy futures and economic transitions elsewhere.