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New publication: Competing socio-technical narratives on Sweden’s energy future

Power lines in a landscape. Photo.

Frans Libertson, doctoral student at the IIIEE, has published a new article in Energy, Sustainability and Society. The focus of the article is to decipher the ongoing media discourse in Sweden concerning the electricity shortage and its proposed solutions, and thereby also discerning the related pathways for Sweden’s energy future.

In Sweden, as in most other nations around the globe, the electricity sector is structured around centralized large-scale power production. However, this centralized systems is currently experiencing operational problems related to climate change, energy security and aging grid infrastructures. In Sweden, the lack of investment and maintenance of the grid have created bottlenecks in certain regions, which are now facing an electricity shortage. Naturally, this capacity crisis has generated a debate in media around the future trajectory of the electricity system.

By studying the media discourse in Sweden over a ten-year period, the study finds that there is a strong inclination toward a centralized electricity system as a solution. Little attention has been given decentralized-system alternatives and other options. This narrow focus on centralized-system solutions does not only risk creating a technological lock-in, but it may also overlook the many advantages of a decentralized electricity system.

The study is part of the ERA-Net funded research project CLUE, Concepts, planning, demonstration and replication of Local User-friendly Energy communities.

The article is open to all and available here.