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19th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production – Circular Europe for Sustainability: Design, Production and Consumption

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Symbiosis of urban systems; markets, hierarchies and developing bottom up initiatives

For Middle and Northern Europe, providing renewable heat will be the main challenge of the energy transition. This challenge can be solved by combining geothermal heat, waste heat, ground heat, heat from sewage and drinking water. Developing a system that combines these heat sources requires large investments both in the sources and in heat distribution. Such a system creates a 'natural monopoly' that creates distrust among consumers. Moreover, it creates strong market volatility, as the high investment costs prohibit a smooth relation between supply and demand. Strong planning and control of such system will reinforce the existing distrust against monopolistic bureaucracies. More local solutions could be able to be governed by transparent and democratic structures, but could they create a highly reliable, cost efficient and sustainable system? The paper will discuss the problems of a large scale market based open heat network, and the development of more local bottom up heating initiatives.

Karel Mulder
The Hague University AS, Delft UT

Fred Zoller
The Hague University AS


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