Keywords: networks, environmental management, anchor tenant, material and energy flow networks, heating energy system of North Karelia, co-production of heat, steam and electricity, carbon dioxide emissions, CHP
An anchor tenant approach to network management: considering regional material and energy flow networks
In a similar way to several other areas of management, approaches to networking and network systems have received increasing attention in the literature on corporate or industrial environmental management. It has been acknowledged that the life cycles of products and their resource use, waste and emission generation are affected by or affect many different companies and other societal actors such as municipal organisations or individual households. To avoid problem displacement from one part of the product or industrial system to another, a holistic systems approach is required. Environmental management of diverse networks is important but also difficult, because of the simultaneous presence of conflicting interests and preferences. In this paper, an anchor tenant is suggested to support a local/regional material and energy flow network that controls or reduces the environmental burden of the system as a whole. An anchor tenant is an influential organisation in the system that drives its main material and energy flows, and hence, can serve as the key actor in the environmental management effort of the system. A case of the district heating system of the North Karelia region in Eastern Finland encompassing 19 municipalities is presented. It is suggested that a power plant applying the method of co-production of heat and electricity (CHP, heat and power) can serve the purpose of a material and energy flow anchor tenant of the regional energy system. The method has been applied to a large national scale in only three countries in the world. CHP can integrate producers and end-consumers of energy into a cooperative network in that it simultaneously produces heat and electricity for them and uses the waste flows from all of these actors as fuels. Also local/regional biomass fuels can be used in the production method. We compare a scenario for large scale CHP application to the current situation in terms of the carbon dioxide emissions of North Karelia. It is shown that while the method has great potential for planning and implementing policies and business strategies for controlling climate change, the scope definition and the focus can significantly alter the outcomes.