Annual Energy Consumption in England and Wales, 1560s to 1850s

Annual Energy Consumption in England and Wales, 1560s to 1850s

Source: adapted from Wrigley, E.A. (2010), Energy and the English industrial revolution, Cambridge University Press.

One of the fundamental changes the Industrial Revolution brought about concerns energy consumption patterns as a growing amount of work was performed by machines. This energy transition involves a shift to more practical and energy-intensive sources. The case of England is illustrative since it was the first nation to undertake an industrial revolution and its related energy transition. While up to the mid-17th century, humans, draught animals, and firewood were the dominant sources of energy. By the early 19th century, the balance completely shifted to coal, a higher density source conveniently available.