De la distribution aux synergies ? : Circulations locales d’énergie et transformations des processus de mise en réseau de la ville

Abstract : Within the framework of the ongoing energy transition objectives, energy circulations at the infra-urban level are increasingly promoted. For instance, local, national and transnational stakeholders suggest the reuse of heat currently being wasted by diverse human activities (industries, data centres, wastewaters …). Alternatively, distributed energy sharing between different urban functions (residential, services, retail …) at the urban block or district scale is promoted. In short, several forms of connections through energy exchange between urban activities are encouraged and examples of those are multiplying.The thesis offers to capture those connections as new forms of urban networks that supersede or overlap a century-old network model based on techno-economic efficiency, socio-economic and socio-spatial solidarity and consumptions growth. It aims at understanding what these local circulations change to the co-construction of cities and energy networks.To do so, the approach combines the results of two different strands of work. On the one side, urban and sociotechnical studies of networked infrastructures allow to understand the reconfigurations of those systems. On the other side, industrial ecology works analyse the dynamics that lead to material circulations between human activities. The articulation of their results makes it possible to grasp the considered object in its social, technical and metabolic dimensions, that is, in a sociomaterial perspective.The analysis is mainly based on three French case studies of which the emergence, running and evolution are investigated: industrial waste heat reuse in the heat network of the city of Dunkirk, heat extraction from a data center to be distributes the in a district of Marne-la-Vallée and energy sharing in the La Confluence district in Lyon. More broadly, suggested or implemented reconfigurations of the organisation of energy provision are reviewed.The results of the study are threefold. First, these new forms of urban network are not solely motivated by techno-economic efficiency. The interests of the stakeholders all come into alignment with an objective of optimization of energy flows uses: from techno-economic efficiency, the goal becomes metabolic efficiency. Second, the networks formed by those circulations are unstable, in particular because of the uncertainties that regard short and long term availability of energy flows. Hence, they do not reproduce the solidarities that emerge from conventional large and stable networks. Third, to reduce those instabilities, actors suggest evolutions that aim at reducing their dependencies on uncertain flows. These evolutions all result in the growth of the network, but do not follow an objective of universalisation. On the contrary, an important spatial selection is operated, according to the perceived materiality of flows by actors. Instead of leading to new consumptions in a supply rationale, the logic becomes one of existing flows integration.To sum up, the thesis shows a “metabolic turn” in the process of networking the urban through energy circulations. While infrastructures extension has long been at the centre of networks construction, pre-existing produced and consumed flows can now become the primary motivation of building connections
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Zélia Hampikian. De la distribution aux synergies ? : Circulations locales d’énergie et transformations des processus de mise en réseau de la ville. Etudes de l'environnement. Université Paris-Est, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017PESC1001⟩. ⟨tel-01586025⟩

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