Energy industry

Energy industry

The energy industry is a generic term for all of the industries involved the production and sale of energy, including fuel extraction, manufacturing, refining and distribution. Modern society consumes large amounts of fuel, and the energy industry is a crucial part of the infrastructure and maintenance of society in almost all countries.

In particular, the energy industry comprises:
* the petroleum industry, including oil companies, petroleum refiners, fuel transport and end-user sales at gas stations
* the gas industry, including natural gas extraction, and coal gas manufacture, as well as distribution and sales
* the electrical power industry, including electricity generation, electric power distribution and sales
* the coal industry
* the nuclear power industry
* the renewable energy industry, comprising alternative energy and sustainable energy companies, including those involved in hydroelectric power, wind power, and solar power generation, and the manufacture, distribution and sale of alternative fuels.
* traditional energy industry based on the collection and distribution of firewood, the use of which, for cooking and heating, is particularly common in poorer countries

Defining the energy industry

Government classifications

The United Nations developed the International Standard Industrial Classification, which is a list of economic and social classifications. [ [ United Nations economic and social classifications] Accessed 6 April 2007.] There is no distinct classification for an energy industry, because the classification system is based on "activities", "products", and "expenditures according to purpose". [ [ United Nations Available Classifications] Accessed 6 April 2007.]

Countries in North America use the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The NAICS sectors #21 and #22 (mining and utilities) might roughly define the energy industry in North America. This classification is used by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Financial market classifications

The Global Industry Classification Standard used by Morgan Stanley define the energy industry as comprising companies primarily working with oil, gas, coal and consumable fuels, excluding companies working with certain industrial gases. [ [ MSCI-Barra GICS Tables] Accessed 6 April 2007.]

Add also to expand this section: Dow Jones Industrial Average [ [ Industry Classification Benchmark for Dow Jones Indexes (United States) and FTSE Indexes (United Kingdom)] (pdf)]

Environmental impact

Because of government encouragement in the form of subsidies and tax incentives, energy conservation efforts are also being increasingly viewed as a major function of the energy industry, as saving an amount of energy has almost identical economic benefits to generating that same amount of energy. The energy industry generates a large amount of pollution, including the generation of toxic gases and greenhouse gases from fuel combustion, nuclear waste from nuclear power generation, and oil spillages in the petroleum industry. Because of government regulation, pollution regulation efforts form an increasing part of the energy industry, and the trading of carbon credits and pollution credits on the free market may also result in energy saving and pollution control measures becoming even more important to energy companies.


See also

* Hydrogen economy
* Canadian Centre for Energy Information

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