Efficient district heating in the future energy system

| April 2007 - December 2009

Together with Risø and RAM-løse edb, Ea Energy Analyses has carried out the project “Efficient district heating in the future energy system”. The project was carried through in cooperation with the District Heating of the Future Committee of the Danish District Heating Association and was supported by the Energy Research Programme, ERP. The work was initiated in April 2007 and completed in December 2009.

District heating as a means to achieve ambitious goals

The project describes the possible role of district heating in the future energy system, focusing on the interaction with the electricity market under various framework conditions. The background to the report is that a number of ambitious goals for CO2 emissions reduction, energy savings and renewable energy must be achieved.

Four scenarios

Four scenarios have been set up: a Baseline scenario, a Savings scenario, a Regulating scenario and a Perspective scenario for 2050. Moreover, case studies have been conducted for Ringkøbing District Heating and for the combined heat and power system of Greater Copenhagen. The case study for Greater Copenhagen was made in cooperation with the project Long term heat plan Greater Copenhagen and the same data basis was used.

District heating is cost-effective

The conclusion of the project is that even with a massive expansion of wind power and considerable heat savings, district heating is a cost-effective contribution to long-term achievement of the climate goals. The analyses also demonstrate that district heating integrates well with wind power. In order for the two to interact well, district heating needs to be more flexible and make increased use of heat storages, heat pumps and electric boilers. Moreover the project shows that in a number of areas in Denmark there would be net socio-economic benefits from replacing oil burners and individual natural gas heating by district heating.

Barriers have not been analysed in detail, it might however be necessary to update the basis for the national heat planning to ensure that socio-economic projects are implemented.

Development of model and data

The analysis has been made with the Balmorel modelling tool for the electricity and CHP system in the Nordic countries and Germany. For the purpose of the analysis, a catalogue of technologies has been prepared. In cooperation with Aalborg University a heat map has also been made, charting the costs of expanding the district heating grid. The model makes “optimal” investments in new electricity and heat production to meet demand.

In this project, the model was developed further to include investments in expansion of the district heating grid wherever profitable.