2017-11-08Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/21565
Politicised nexus thinking in practice
Integrating urban wastewater utilities into regional energy markets
Infrastructures are key interfaces of urban resource use, connecting production to consumption, cities to their hinterland and energy to water and land use. They have, however, received scant attention in debates on nexus thinking in general, and the urban nexus in particular. Drawing on an emergent critical literature on the nexus in urban studies and science and technology studies, this article examines practices of (attempted) inter-sectoral infrastructure integration at the interface of urban wastewater treatment and regional energy provision in Germany. It analyses the nexus approaches and experiences of eight German cities / city-regions as so-called ‘flexibility providers’ in regional energy markets for electricity, gas and heating. It demonstrates how the practices of wastewater utilities operating in energy markets involve far more than technical adaptation, requiring in addition a major reordering of existing material, spatial and institutional configurations to both wastewater and energy systems. This is proving a deeply political process with important implications for our understanding of socio-technical transitions at the water-energy nexus.基础设施是城市资源利用的关键连接口, 将生产连接至消费, 城市连接至内陆腹地, 能源连接至水和土地利用。然而, 在学界总体关于“关系”(nexus) 思维和具体关于城市关系的讨论中, 基础设施鲜受关注。本文借鉴城市研究和科技研究中新涌现出的关于“关系”的关键文献, 考察了德国城市污水处理与区域能源供应交接地带的部门间基础设施整合实践。我们选取了德国八个在电力、燃气和暖气供应的区域能源市场中以所谓“灵活供应商”身份出现的城市/城市地区, 分析了其“关系”进路和经历。分析表明, 在能源市场运行的污水处理设施, 其所做远远不止是技术调整适应, 另外还要对废水和能源系统的现有材料、空间和机构配置进行大幅重整。研究证明, 这是一个深远的政治进程, 对我们理解水能源关系中的社会技术转型具有重要意义。
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This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.