Adaptation to Climate Change among Electricity Distribution Companies in Norway and Sweden: Lessons from the Field

Local Environment, Vol 17, No 6-7, 2012, pp. 663-678

The article analyses local adaptation to climate change in the electricity sector in Norway and Sweden. More specific, this article analyses the adaptive capacity of four local grid-companies in the two countries, based on national context, company size, and experience with weather events. Further, the four cases’ experience with, awareness of, and adaptations to climate change are described. The Swedish companies have a higher awareness to vulnerability to climate hange than the Norwegian ones. They have also made more adaptations. The most important factors for explaining this are differences in the national regulations, along with differences between the companies in experience with extreme weather. The Norwegian regulatory scheme has moved further in the direction of cost efficiency than the Swedish one. This leaves a larger room for adaptation in the Swedish companies while reducing the ability to adapt in the Norwegian ones. In terms of size, the large companies clearly have a higher adaptive capacity to climate change than the smaller ones. The policy implications of the findings are that in order to encourage adaptation, regulatory models will have to allow for other considerations than economic efficiency, as well as include incentives for adaptation.