II Annual Meeting for the Danish District Heating Industry

Date: 19 September 2013

The annual meeting 2013 took place in Bjerringbro and Silkeborg on September 11th.  The meeting was hosted by DBDH and FIF Marketing and had more than 90 participants, representing all aspects of the Danish district heating industry. The theme of the day was: Green city development and the future of district heating in the low energy society.


The day was divided in two parts:
• First a site visit in Bjerringbro where showcases focused on development of new green technologies
• The second part consisted of presentations and debate with various guest speakers at Gl. Skovridergaard in Silkeborg.


Part 1: Showcase


Tage Meltofte, Skive Fjernvarme, was first on stage at Grundfos Academy, and gave a presentation of the processes and ideas behind Europe’s largest gasification plant. The plant turns wood into gas, by using krak-technology. The gas is then cleaned and finally becomes a highly sustainable source of energy.



Charles Hansen  and Johnny Schou, Grundfos,  presented the next showcase, a joint-venture project between the local heating plant and the global billion dollar business Grundfos. The two partners had managed to kill two birds with one stone by combining their needs and expertise in a common energy center. The energy center generates cooling for the machines in Grundfos, and then uses the return heat for production, to heat up the city of Bjerringbro. Especially the start-up and project development experiences made by the two partners, were of great interest to many visitors. Grundfos and Bjerringbro varmeværk, were glad to share their experiences.



Part 2: Presentations and debate


With five guest speakers, the scene was set for an intense discussion, with many and various opinions. Will there be a need for district heating in new houses with very limited heat consumption? Has the sector lost its drive and ability to create innovate solutions? Or will district heating remain a major supplier of heat and innovation to the future energy market? 


First on stage was Palle Jørgensen, Boligforeningen Ringgården. With more than 15 years of experience working with low energy houses, and as board member in the local district heating plant, he knew both sides of the business. Even though he was very critical of the future for district heating in these new kinds of houses. By presenting different actual low energy projects that work and are running fine, he showed how the need for heat, and therefore the need for district heating, might look very different in the future.


Next was Signe Kongebro, Henning Larsen Architects. By focusing on design and especially the use of sun light, she showed how architectural innovation could significantly reduce energy use. We should not only look to the construction of insulation, windows and walls but also design when trying to save energy.


Representing the construction industry was Karl Gustav Jensen, NCC. He pointed to the problem of individual energy solutions as being a very short-term solution. Due to the rapid development in the sector, the technology could easily be out of date, even before it really got up and running. District heating on the other hand, should first and foremost be seen as a distribution system, the source of energy could be changing as the times changes. The sector has to be pro-active, in order to keep up with the development and maintain their position as part of the future energy mix.
 
Stefan Birkebjerg Andensen, CEO for City- and Cultural Administration in Odense, gave an input on how the city planners see the development. District heating could still be a part of the city development, but according to Stefan it was important to come up with more flexible solutions, in order to meet the needs of the new low energy houses.


Last presentation was a macro-scientific input from Henrik Lund, professor specialized in energy form Aalborg University. After years of scientific work on the future of the Danish energy system, he still sees district heating playing animportant role, despite an expected dramatic fall in overall heat consumption. The cost of changing into individual energy solutions would involve a massive loss for society and huge CO2 emissions.



After the five presentations, it was time for debate and questions from the floor. Many questions went to Palle Jørgensen, arguing that his individual energy solutions involved a societal economy loss compared to relying on the already existing common energy solutions, like district heating. Palle Jørgensen argued against this macro-level way of seeing things. It involved a great risk of killing the innovation and initiative within the sector, through too much regulation and control. Signe Kongebro warned against only involving energy cost as a factor. City space, comfort, and architectural design are other important factors for the future city-citizens. All in all, it was a lively debate with lots of input, and a final general understanding that district heating still would be an important part of the future energy system. The industry would have to be more pro-active though, in order to keep the leading position. 


The evening continued with a member’s dinner and networking. Before the dinner was served, CEO of DBDH Lars Hummelmose and CEO of FIF Marketing Eva Rasmussen, had a joyful announcement to make. A future common partnership between DBDH and FIF: Fjernvarmeindustrien. This partnership involves a new common logo and an agreement to combine efforts in future events, and political lobbying. The two organisations will keep their structure as individual institutions but with a much closer cooperation.