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Analysis of Energy Transition Pathways in the Residential Sector of the Built Environment: A sectoral country comparison
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

An energy transition is currently taking place in many European countries. Existing studies comparing countries’ energy transition pathways are limited in scope and lack a strong theoretical foundation. This thesis addresses the lack of theoretical framework-based approaches by applying a sectoral analysis framework, identifying the main factors facilitating or hindering the sustainable energy transition in several countries, and the significant differences between them.The research focused on four countries; the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom and was limited to the residential sector of the built environment. It included the three dominant housing types: social rental; private rental; and homeownership. Data was clustered along the four dimensions of the sectoral analysis framework, identifying: (1) actors, interactions & networks; (2) the institutional or legal framework; (3) the technological framework; and (4) market demand. The same process was repeated for each of the countries, forming a detailed overview about their chosen energy transition pathways. A number of interviews were conducted to gain further insight into country-specific factors.With respect to actors, interactions and networks, this study has found that strong ties and cooperation between ministries and departments is an important factor facilitating policy success, with departmental fragmentation or competition posing a significant barrier. In terms of the institutional framework policy stability, clear targets and long-term policy framework are all factors for policy success. Conversely, frequent changes to existing policies, non-binding goals and the absence of a long-term framework are all seen as barriers for a sustainable energy transition. Looking at the technological regime, this study found countries with active support for renewable energy technologies have a higher share of renewable energy than countries where the choice of technologies is largely market-based. Past technological choices and existing energy-infrastructure were found to influence transition pathways and can be both a positive or negative factor. Lastly, with respect to market demand, the existence of a standardised housing stock was found to be a potentially significant factor for the upscaling of innovative initiatives. The existence of a large and fragmented (private) rental sector and high interest rates on financing products were found to be further barriers for the energy transition in the residential sector.This thesis has identified obstacles matching those in previous studies and introduced a number of factors facilitating policy success. It has made a first step in overcoming the lack in theoretical framework-based approaches in energy transition analysis future studies can build on.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 69 p.
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper, ISSN 1650-6553 ; 249
Keyword [en]
Sustainable Development, social sciences, energy transition, residential sector, built environment
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-254935OAI: diva2:820305
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
2015-06-04, Geocentrum, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 21:58 (English)
Available from: 2015-06-12 Created: 2015-06-11 Last updated: 2015-06-12Bibliographically approved

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