Integration of geothermal heat in district heating systems

Balmorel: Power system model | September 2013 - September 2015

In corporation with the Geothermal Company of the Danish District Heating Association and COWI, Ea Energy Analyses carried out a project analysing the potential for exploiting geothermal heat for district heating in Denmark.

As part of the project, the technical situation for geothermal heat in 28 district heating areas across the country was analysed and described with respect to plant location, technology choice, temperature levels and economic investment.

The analysis shows that geothermal energy will only be economically advantageous in a few of the areas when the existing tax system is taken into account. Socioeconomically, it looks somewhat better and in several areas, geothermal heat is competitive with other forms of heat production.

Overall, geothermal has low economic potential, mainly due to competition with biomass which is exempt from tax and this is considered to be the greatest barrier to the expansion of geothermal energy.

The overall consequences and economy of implementing geothermal district heating across the country were assessed, taking into account the development of the power and district heating system in the Nordic countries and Germany. These analyses were carried out using the power and district heating model Balmorel.

The project described opportunities and barriers for exploiting geothermal heat for district heating in Denmark, and the results were meant to be a part of the overall strategic energy planning taking place on both national and municipality level.