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Case study analysis of urban decentralized energy systems

posted on 2013-11-05, 10:28 authored by Ksenia ChmutinaKsenia Chmutina, Chris GoodierChris Goodier
The UK has set an ambitious plan to substantially cut its carbon emissions. In order to meet this 2050 target of 80% reduction, the UK is facing a significant challenge of restructuring its energy system, currently characterised by lock-in to centralisation. There is however potential to challenge this lock-in through the development of more decentralised energy systems - based not only on technological, but also on more innovative political, social and economic approaches. Examples of these unique approaches have already been successfully implemented in many cities worldwide, demonstrating that more decentralised energy systems can lead to enhanced carbon emissions reductions. Using a multi-disciplinary framework, this work critically assesses several urban decentralised energy systems around the world through the assessment of exemplar international case studies. Following semi-structured interviews, this work compares and critiques four diverse international case studies in order to demonstrate and contrast a variety of decentralised approaches. It emphasises the variety and inter-relationships of barriers and drivers involved in the implementation of such projects. Although it is believed that regulations heavily influence the implementation of decentralised energy projects, these projects are frequently driven and motivated by other factors such as reputation, profitability and the opportunity to show that “we can do it”. The main non-technical barriers are not necessarily financial, as is often believed. Governance barriers - such as out-of-date regulations or unreliable partners - also play an important role in the success or failure of a project. Social barriers in the form of public apathy and misinformation regarding energy consumption can also be significant, which often affects the operation on the project.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering


CHMUTINA, K. and GOODIER, C.I., 2013. Case study analysis of urban decentralized energy systems. IN: Filho, L. ... et al (eds). Climate-Smart Technologies: Integrating Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in Mitigation and Adaptation Responses. Heidelberg: Springer Verlag, pp.307-324.


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