The role of actor-networks in the early stage mobilisation of low carbon heat networks

AMBROSE, Aimee, EADSON, William and PINDER, James (2016). The role of actor-networks in the early stage mobilisation of low carbon heat networks. Energy Policy, 96, 144-152.

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Low carbon heat networks (LCHNs) offer great potential for carbon reduction and to reduce heat costs for consumers. In spite of these benefits, LCHNs provide for just two per cent of heat demand in the UK, when recent estimates suggest they have the potential to provide for around 43 per cent. It is within this context that the Pioneer Cities project (the project) was launched by the UK government, aiming to help local authorities overcome barriers to the deployment of LCHNs. This paper reports the findings of an evaluation of this project, drawing on 86 in-depth interviews with stakeholders across five local authority areas, analysed using elements of Actor Network Theory (ANT). The evaluation found that the project's success has been limited. Participating local authorities have encountered common challenges regarding marketisation; public sector retrenchment and a lack of experience in mobilising LCHNs. These factors militate against the formation of the robust actor-networks required to drive forward LCHNs. Analysis using ANT reveals insights into why LCHNs remain elusive in the UK and suggests that policy makers seeking to promote LCHNs need to do more to strengthen local authorities' ability to lead and deliver complex infrastructure projects.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research
Departments: Sheffield Business School > Department of Service Sector Management
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Sarah Ward
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2016 08:50
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2019 09:15

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