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The Contradictions between District and Individual Heating towards Green Deal Targets

Lauma Balode (), Kristiāna Dolge () and Dagnija Blumberga ()
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Lauma Balode: Institute of Energy Systems and Environment, Riga Technical University, LV-1048 Riga, Latvia
Kristiāna Dolge: Institute of Energy Systems and Environment, Riga Technical University, LV-1048 Riga, Latvia
Dagnija Blumberga: Institute of Energy Systems and Environment, Riga Technical University, LV-1048 Riga, Latvia

Sustainability, 2021, vol. 13, issue 6, 1-26

Abstract: The blind spot can be defined as the area around the vehicle where the driver cannot see through the mirrors without turning their head or taking their eyes off the road. Similar blind spots occur in energy policy. Blind spots can occur in forecasting economic development and creating policy documents. This study uncovers potential blind spots and controversies in the sustainability assessment of energy supply technologies. A composite sustainability index was constructed to compare district heating with four individual heating technologies—wood pellet boilers, natural gas boilers, solar collectors, and heat pumps. A total of 19 indicators were selected and grouped into four dimensions of sustainability—technical, environmental, economic, and social. The results reveal that district heating can compete with individual heating technologies in all dimensions of sustainability; however, a possible blind spot lies in evaluating environmental performance indicators of the different heating technologies. This study provides a novel decision-making tool that policy-makers could use to identify and avoid potential blind spots and uncertainties in energy policy at an early stage.

Keywords: energy policy; contradictions; composite sustainability index; sustainability dimensions; heating technologies (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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