District heating in shrinking municipalities – challenges and strategies for a sustainable energy system

Sollefteå, town in the nothern part of Sweden.
Erhard Gollenia

When the population in many Swedish municipalities decreases, district heating companies are faced with new challenges and opportunities. The project focuses on the consequences for these actors.

District heating in shrinking municipalities – challenges and strategies for a sustainable energy system. Around half of all Swedish municipalities have a declining population. Simultaneously, they rely on infrastructure systems for all kinds of services. All in all, this entails a number of challenges regarding, among other things, the operating economics, maintenance, organization and competence management of these systems.

This project examines the challenges and opportunities that district heating actors in shrinking municipalities face that want to contribute to a more resource-efficient society. With a social science approach based on surveys, case studies and GIS analyses, the project creates strategic and organizational knowledge of what altered demography, increased urbanization and economic restructuring means for many district heating actors in Sweden today. The project’s goal is to strengthen the innovative capabilities of shrinking municipalities and to provide a better understanding of the possibilities for transition in district heating systems under different conditions.

 

The project is funded by the Swedish Energy Agency.
Project duration: 2019 – 2021.

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