Great unused potential for district cooling

Date: 3 June 2016

A new report investigating the potential for district cooling in Denmark concludes that it could save the society 10 billion Danish Kroner (1.5 Billion Euro) to implement district cooling of 4,200 GWh cooling energy and 2.4 GW cooling capacity.

”Køleplan Danmark 2016” (Cooling Plan Denmark 2016) is partially based on 4DH research and has been prepared for the Danish District Heating Assciation by Ramboll, who is a part of the 4DH Research Centre.

“The Cooling Plan shows significant large-scale benefits of district cooling in typical industry areas which reduce the overall investment needs in cooling capacity. Storage of both heating and cooling can optimise the co-production of cooling and heating to the fluctuating electricity prices and the value of the excess heat. This way, district cooling gives a significant contribution to energy efficiency in buildings and in district heating”, said Anders Dyrelund, Senior Market Manager at Ramboll Energy and main author of the report.

Deputy Head of 4DH and Professor at Aalborg University Brian Vad Mathiesen adds that the new cooling plan shows how important it is to integrate the energy sectors to find synergies that make the sustainable transition cost-efficient and save the society significant amounts of money.

“Just like district heating, district cooling has large-scale benefits and gives better comfort in the areas where the cooling demands are large enough. District cooling can increase the integration of the electricity, heating and cooling sectors and makes sense in the transition towards 100% renewable energy in 2050”, said Brian Vad Mathiesen.

In Denmark, district cooling only covers 4% of the total cooling demand, compared to the neighbouring country Sweden where an expansion over the last 20 years has increased the cooling demand covered by district cooling to 40% today.

To make the recommended expansion of district cooling in Denmark will require some legislation changes and better incentives for the municipalities and the District Heating companies to invest in district cooling, concludes the report.