Kaijser, Arne, and Marika Hedin, eds. 1995, xi + 246pp., Illus.
The energy systems in the Nordic countries—as well as in many other industrialized countries—are presently facing a new situation. In the past decades the main challenges have been of a technical and economical nature, i.e., increasing the size of plants and transmission networks in order to cope with a rapidly growing demand. Today the main challenges are of an institutional nature. Demand growth has come to a halt and the "rules of the game" in both legal and organizational terms, are being reformulated in order to increase the system's overall operating efficiency. These changes imply that issues concerning energy systems are currently attracting considerable academic and political interest. The chapters in this volume explore important aspects of both the historical background and the current changes. The authors include historians, social scientists, and utility managers from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden.
There are three themes under which the chapters have been classified. The first theme concerns the historical roots of electricity systems, with a special emphasis on their institutional structures. The development of the rich hydropower resources in the Nordic countries have not only posed great technical challenges but have also led to institutional changes and environmental conflicts. The second theme concerns the relations between energy systems and the industry. Industry has played a crucial role in the development of Nordic energy systems in the 19th and 20th centuries, both as major consumer and as supplier of equipment. The third theme concerns the reason for and implications of the ongoing institutional changes. Three kinds of changes are explored: deregulation of electricity, growing environmental concerns, and increasing energy trade across national borders.
“ . . . succeeds in accomplishing two worthwhile goals. It brings to a wider audience significant information about the energy history of the Nordic states, and it provides a case study for energy policy analysis that has wider implications for all industrialized nations as they enter the 21st century.” —Technology & Culture
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