Hot transformations: governing rapid and deep household heating transitions in China, Denmark, Finland and the United Kingdom

Sovacool, Benjamin K and Martiskainen, Mari (2020) Hot transformations: governing rapid and deep household heating transitions in China, Denmark, Finland and the United Kingdom. Energy Policy, 139. a111330. ISSN 0301-4215

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The rapid decarbonisation of heat remains a challenging energy and climate policy priority. In this study, after screening 461 global case studies, we examine four national household transitions in heat, and examine their implications for governance. These transitions were both rapid, involving transformations in heat provision in a short timeframe of 18 to 35 years; and deep, involving diffusion that collectively reached more than 100 million households and more than 310 million people. From 1995 to 2015, China stimulated industrial research with strong municipal and national targets and policies to the point where they saw adoption rates for solar thermal systems surpass 95% market penetration in many urban areas. From 1976 to 2011, Denmark blended small-scale decentralized community control with national standards and policies to promote district heating so it reached 80% of household needs. From 2000 to 2018, Finland harnessed user and peer-to-peer learning, and innovation, alongside national and European policies and incentives so that heat pumps reached almost a third of all homes. From 1960 to 1977, The United Kingdom coordinated a nationalized Gas Council and Area Boards with industry groups, appliance manufacturers, installers and marketing campaigns so that gas central heating reached almost half of all homes. These four rapid case studies share commonalities in polycentric governance, rooted in (1) equity, (2) inclusivity, (3) information and innovation, (4) ownership and accountability, (5) organizational multiplicity, and (6) experimentation and flexibility. The study affirms that designing the right sort of political and governance architecture can be just as salient as technical innovation and development.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: residential heating; heat as a service; energy transitions; polycentrism; heat decarbonisation; energy and climate governance
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Depositing User: Francisco Dominguez
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2020 08:19
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2020 16:15

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
SWS Heat: Developing the next generation technologies of renewable electricity and heating/coolingG2475EUROPEAN UNION764025