District heating: Denmark’s secret energy success

Date: 4 March 2014

Today Danish newspaper Berlingske has a large climate section, in which there is an article about district heating and its export opportunities.

DBDH’ managing director Lars Hummelmose is interviewed, informing about for example China, which is that country that is investing most intense in district heating these years.

The article argues that people are constantly hearing about the Danish wind turbines and oil exploration in the North Sea, while there is not much focus on district heating – a field where Denmark is actually a world champion and in the process of tripling exports worth billions. Consulting companies and manufacturers of pipes, valves and other district heating equipment in these years get gigantic orders when e.g. Russian cities want to renovate the heating network, and Chinese metropolises switch to district heating.

Last year, Denmark had up to 63 percent of the homes connected to the district heating network, which now uses a variety of heat sources. This is a very important strength because it means that the heating systems can switch between the different sources, producing in the cheapest or the most environmentally friendly way.

The district heating sector consists of about 430 small and large plants, and more than 1.6 million homes and thousands of businesses as well as schools and other public buildings are connected to district heating. According to a report published by Fjernvarmeindustrien last year, the district heating companies have a turnover of approximately 20 billion DKK annually, and with the consultants and suppliers there are additional revenues of approximately ten billion DKK.

The current investments are also in the “billion league”. In 2013, the plants invested five billion DKK, according to the Danish District Heating Association.

Internationally, a lot is taking place: “In China the activity is huge. China is the country that currently invests most in developing district heating. At the same time they invest in a lot of renovations,” says Lars Hummelmose, director of Fjernvarmeindustrien and DBDH .

Other major markets are Russia and Eastern and Central Europe.

Read the article here (in Danish) Det hemmelige energieventyr