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Swedish district heating sector - A system in stagnation: Current and future trends in the district heating sector
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (TEVS)
2012 (English)In: Energy Policy, ISSN 0301-4215, Vol. 48, 449-459 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper argues that Sweden’s old and established district heating sector is heading into a stagnation phase. The aim is to analyse the factors influencing this development as well as the strategies used by involved parties to prevent stagnation. Using large technical system theory, I analyse internal and external factors potentially causing stagnation. The most obvious external factors are: an increase in the number of energy-efficient buildings, in response to stricter energy policies, which reduces the future potential for district heating in new and existing buildings; climate change; competition from other heating systems; and market saturation in the key sector, multi-dwelling buildings. The main internal factor is changed business strategies following electricity market deregulation, when energy companies were supposed to be run on businesslike terms. I also argue that stagnation can be defined as occurring when the key measure feature of a system, in this case, heat load is starting to stagnate or decline, even though the trend is positive in other areas. The strategies for avoiding stagnation are various forms of broadening scope, primarily by focusing more on electricity production by building combined heat and power plants, or using the alternative value of the technical system for new applications.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 48, 449-459 p.
Keyword [en]
District heating; Combined heat and power; Large technical systems
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-80139DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.05.047ISI: 000309042100044OAI: diva2:545813

funding agencies|Swedish Energy Agency||

Available from: 2012-08-27 Created: 2012-08-21 Last updated: 2013-02-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. District Heating in a Liberalized Energy Market: A New Order?: Planning and Development in the Stockholm Region, 1978-2012
Open this publication in new window or tab >>District Heating in a Liberalized Energy Market: A New Order?: Planning and Development in the Stockholm Region, 1978-2012
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Fjärrvärme i en liberaliserad energimarknad: en ny ordning? : Planering och utveckling i Stockholmsregionen, 1978-2012
Abstract [en]

This dissertation analyses how district heating systems in the Stockholm region have evolved and developed during the period 1978-2012. The thesis comprises four papers analyzing how district heating has been handled in municipal and regional planning. The examination explores how actors have worked together to create regional, interconnected district heating systems with economic, technological and environmental benefits. An investigation is undertaken on the effects of liberalization (and the subsequent commercialization of the district heating market) on the planning and cooperation of these systems. The impact on the present and future district heating market is also discussed.

The dissertation shows that energy companies cooperated on a regional level to create interconnected regional systems. Through openness, the capacity to make high-level decisions and municipal legitimacy, the regional strategies could be implemented at the municipal level. This can be considered a form of regional planning from below that developed through the initiative of the municipalities. The regional energy planning authority Stoseb could therefore succeed where other regional planning authorities in the Stockholm region have previous failed, to gather and unite the municipalities into a regional force.

This cooperation changed around the time of the liberalization of the energy market in 1996, which led to sales of several municipal energy companies and a subsequent concentration of ownership in the region. The organizational distance between energy companies and municipalities has increased and affected the communication between them. Regional cooperation could not be maintained and this has meant that opportunities and tools to implement energy strategies today are weaker than earlier. This is a case of ‘regional splintering’. The liberalization of the energy market thus had a major impact on the district heating sector.

Abstract [sv]

Denna sammanläggningsavhandling analyserar hur fjärrvärmesystemen iStockholmsregionen vuxit och förändrats, mellan 1978 och 2012. Avhandlingen består av fyra artiklar som analyserar hur fjärrvärme hanterats i kommunal och regional planering, hur aktörer samarbetat för att skapa regionala, sammankopplade fjärrvärmesystem med ekonomiska, tekniska och miljömässiga vinster som följd, hur elavregleringen, och den påföljande kommersialiseringen av fjärrvärmemarknaden, påverkade planering och samverkan kring dessa system, samt fjärrvärmemarknadens nuläge och framtid.

Avhandlingen visar att energibolagen samarbetat på regional nivå för att skapa sammanhängande regionala system, genom öppet samarbete och att man tack vare hög beslutskompetens kunnat implementera de regionala strategierna på kommunal nivå. Det var en form av regional planering underifrån, då initiativet kom från kommunerna och samarbetsorganet lyckades med vad regionala planorgan haft svårt att genomföra under flertalet decennier i Stockholmsregion, nämligen att samla och ena kommunerna kring strategier som implementerats.

Detta samarbete förändrades vid tiden runt liberaliseringen av energimarknaden, som genomfördes 1996, vilket ledde till försäljning av flertalet kommunala energibolag och en efterföljande koncentration av ägandeskapet i regionen. Det organisatoriska avståndet mellan energibolag och kommun har därmed blivit längre och påverkat kommunikationen dem emellan. Det regionala samarbetet kunde därmed inte fortsätta som tidigare och detta gör att möjligheterna och verktyg att implementera regionala energistrategier idag är svaga. Detta var ett fall av ”regional splintering”. Liberaliseringen av energimarknaden hade således stor påverkan påfjärrvärmesektorn.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. 104 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 576
District heating, energy, Stockholm region, municipal planning, regional planning, large technical systems, splintering urbanism, planning doctrines, Fjärrvärme, energi, Stockholmsregionen, kommunal planering, regional planering, Large Technical Systems, Splintering Urbanism, Planeringsdoktriner
National Category
Social Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-88708 (URN)978-91-7519-672-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-03-15, TEMCAS, Temahuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, LInköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2013-02-14 Created: 2013-02-14 Last updated: 2014-10-08Bibliographically approved

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