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Beyond the modern infrastructure ideal: A historical analysis of district heating expansion pre and post liberalization in Swedish municipalities
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The accessibility and affordability of infrastructure service after liberalization and deregulation are central to the splintering urbanism (SU) thesis. Liberalization and deregulation are not well studied in Swedish contexts, especially from a historical perspective. This article explores the applicability of the SU-concept modern infrastructure ideal in district heating (DH) expansion, using the concepts of cherry-picking and bypass, by historically analysing DH systems in Swedish municipalities. Using statistical and GIS analyses of digitized DH maps, I found that cherry-picking and bypassing strategies existed well before the liberalization of the Swedish energy market in 1996. This means that, though DH network access has never been universal, the effects have not been infrastructural ‘cold spots’, as the bypassed areas have other heating options. Traces of the modern infrastructure ideal are evident in Sweden, as public ownership and management, standardized and affordable service, and integrated comprehensive planning have been the guiding logics. The cherry-picking and bypass strategies arose for systemic and historical reasons, as high investment costs and heat loss per installed meter of the pipe network are important considerations, as is competition from other heating systems. There are signs of new business logics arising due to higher prices and the creation of premium network spaces.

Keyword [en]
Splintering urbanism, modern infrastructure ideal, district heating, Sweden, Stockholm County
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-88703OAI: diva2:605553
Available from: 2013-02-14 Created: 2013-02-14 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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