Publication details

Energy transition for the rich and energy poverty for the rest? Mapping and explaining district heating transition, energy poverty, and vulnerability in Czechia

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Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Energy Research & Social Science
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords Energy vulnerability; District heating; Energy poverty; Mixed methods; Mapping; Spatial analysis
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Description This paper considers the planned transformation of the district heating sector as an opportunity to protect households from energy poverty, while also acknowledging the potential for increased susceptibility. We aim to contribute to energy vulnerability research through a two/phased sequential explanatory research design, which is uncommon in energy poverty research. In the first stage, we develop an index to reveal the detailed socio-spatial distribution of urban energy vulnerability in Czechia. This index can be used as a primary tool for targeted regional and local policies. In the second stage, we confirm the validity and disaggregation of the index through local research. In addition, this process uncovers vulnerabilities not captured by the index or that add meaning and depth to known vulnerability factors. We identify multiple pathways of energy vulnerability stemming from socioeconomic and material-technical factors, as well as combinations thereof. Our research shows that urban energy vulnerability is rooted at different levels, ranging from the household to the state, and is influenced both by past deregulation/liberalisation efforts and rising energy prices, which can jeopardize planned projects. Our analysis highlights the crucial role of district heating systems in urban energy vulnerability, their socio-economic fragility, and their inherently political nature.
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