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Energy service collaborations—it is a question of trust
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Energy Systems. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2013 (English)In: Energy Efficiency, ISSN 1570-646X, Vol. 6, no 3, 511-521 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Energy services have been highlighted both in European Union directives and in academic literature as an important tool to increase energy efficiency. Performance-based energy services, i.e., outsourcing energy management in performance-based remuneration contracts, is said to overcome many of the barriers that have been used to explain the energy efficiency gap. Energy service companies (ESCOs) help organizations to implement energy-efficient solutions in order to reduce energy costs. By combining science and technology studies (STS) analysis and economics in an interview study of firms, the paper contributes insights on the relational nature of energy service collaborations. The objective of the study is to describe how knowledge and incentives affect trust between partners in performance-remunerated energy service collaborations. Performance-based remuneration is one aspect that makes energy service contracts complex. On the one hand, risk is recognized as an important barrier to energy efficiency. Since remuneration to ESCOs is based on energy savings, they also share the financial and technical project risk with their clients. On the other hand, performance-based remuneration can create a lack of trust. Performance is measured in calculations made by the ESCO, calculations that demand expertise that client firms do not possess. ESCOs are consulted for their knowledge on energy efficiency and therefore an imbalance of knowledge is in the nature of energy service collaborations. The paper concludes that if the initial doubt is overcome, long-term collaborations can be advantageous for both parties, since this builds trust and generates long-term profits.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands, 2013. Vol. 6, no 3, 511-521 p.
Keyword [en]
ESCO, Energy services, Barriers to energy efficiency, Energy efficiency, Trust
National Category
Economics Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-87148DOI: 10.1007/s12053-012-9189-zISI: 000321437000006OAI: diva2:585800
Available from: 2013-01-10 Created: 2013-01-10 Last updated: 2014-11-20
In thesis
1. Efficient improvement of energy efficiency in small and medium- sized Swedish firms
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Efficient improvement of energy efficiency in small and medium- sized Swedish firms
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This is a dissertation about efficient implementation of energy efficiency measures in small and medium-sized Swedish firms. The aim is to investigate the potential for economically efficient implementation of energy efficiency improvement measures in small and medium-sized firms. The thesis contains five papers that analyse different aspects that have been put forth in policy documents and academic debate as  methods to improve energy efficiency in non-energy intensive sectors.

By reading policy documents, interviewing representatives of small and medium- sized firms and energy auditors as well as analysing data from the Swedish energy audit program, different aspects of energy management practices, energy services and energy audits are considered. The thesis is the product of an interdisciplinary context but economic theory is at the foundation of the analysis and has helped formulate questions and hypotheses that have been tested and explored with the data.

The results show that while the potential for improving energy efficiency in the small and medium- sized sector in Sweden is large there are challenges to realizing it in each individual firm. There is potential for improving energy efficiency in the sector and not just for investments in new technology but also for adjusting existing machinery and changing behaviour, but costs for investigating the potential and implementing the measures are large relative to the improvement potential in each company. Energy management practices in this sector are lacking and energy services will only be demanded if reduction in production cost is estimated larger than transaction costs of the service. The Swedish energy audit program has led to the implementation of energy efficiency improvements in the participating firms but compared to other policy instruments it has been a less cost-efficient way to improve energy efficiency in Sweden.

Abstract [sv]

Detta är en avhandling om effektiv implementering av energieffektiviseringsåtgärder i svenska små och medelstora företag. Syftet är att undersöka och diskutera potentialen för att på ett ekonomiskt effektivt sätt öka implementering av energieffektiva åtgärder i svenska företag. Avhandlingen består av fem papper som analyserar olika aspekter som framförts som möjliga tillvägagångssätt för att öka graden av energieffektivitet i icke-energiintensiva sektorer.

Genom att studera styrmedelsdokument, intervjua representanter för små medelstora företag och energikartläggare samt att studera data från det svenska energikartläggningsstödet har potentialen för energiledning, energitjänster och energikartläggningar undersökts. Avhandlingen är en produkt av en tvärvetenskaplig kontext men med en ekonomisk teoretisk tyngdpunkt som hjälpt formulera frågeställningar och hypoteser.

Resultaten visar att trots att det finns en stor potential för att öka graden av energieffektivitet i svenska små och medelstora företag så är det svårt att komma åt den i enskillda företag. Det finns energieffektiviserings potentialer både i nya investeringar och i energiledningsåtgärder, som att justera teknik och ändra beteenden, men kostnaderna för att undersöka dessa potentialer och implementera åtgärder är stora relativt kostnadsbesparingarna i varje enskilt företag. Energiledningsrutiner brister i sektorn och energitjänster kommer enbart att efterfrågas om kostnadsminskningarna bedöms större än transaktionskostnader förknippade med tjänsten. Det svenska energikartläggningsstödet har lett till ökad implementering av energieffektiva åtgärder men kostnaderna är högre jämfört med andra styrmedel för att öka energieffektivitet i Sverige.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. 59 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1634
Energy efficiency potential, small and medium- sized firms, energy management, energy audits, energy services, Energieffektiviseringspotential, små och medelstora företag, energiledning, energikartläggningar, energitjänster
National Category
Energy Systems
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-112269 (URN)978-91-7519-179-9 (print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-12-12, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2014-11-20 Created: 2014-11-20 Last updated: 2015-01-30Bibliographically approved

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Backlund, SandraEidenskog, Maria
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