The annual meeting of Fjernvarmeindustrien, hosted by DBDH and FIF Marketing, was held on September 10th at Gram Castle, Southern Jutland. The event was hailed a success with a record participation of 120 attendees, comprised by key stakeholders in the Danish district heating sector.
Aligned with the country’s energy strategy, this year’s theme focused on Denmark’s sustainable solutions towards becoming a fossil fuel-free society.
The day was set in motion with a site visit to Vojens District Heating plant, 18km east away from the city of Gram. Vojens houses the world’s largest solar heating plant and pit heat storage, which expansion was finalized this year. The participants were divided in two groups and introduced to the plant with a presentation by managing director Arne Holm.
The programme continued at the castle with an opening and welcome speech by Lars Gullev, chairman of DBDH, followed by a sequence of seven presentations and a debate. Meik Wiking, director at the Happiness Research Institute, acted as the debate moderator after presenting his points of view on the relation between environmental behavior and sustainable happiness. A final reflection question shed a light on which path the Danish society and government should proceed along in the pursuit of well-being and better life quality in the cities.
Jarl Krausing, chief consultant at the think tank CONCITO, updated the audience on the latest macroeconomic indicators, estimating that India and China would account for 50% of the world economy by 2030. It was expressed that Denmark has the best solutions in green transition on a global scale, but there is a need to identify how to build a value chain that has the largest socioeconomic benefits. It was also announced that Connie Hedegaard, former EU Commissioner and Climate and Energy Minister, has recently joined CONCITO’s board of directors.
Otto Brøns Petersen, chief analyst at the think tank CEPOS, held a presentation on the cost of transitioning to green energy. He defended that there should be a principle of reciprocity within the European Union for the sake of the Danish government taking the lead in energy policy.
Kim Benhke, vice president of Danish District Heating Association (Dansk Fjernvarme), encouraged the audience to think of district heating in the EU context, not only the Danish context. He held a presentation on the role of district heating in a fossil fuel-free society, focusing on the need to address energy efficiency commitment. It was additionally mentioned that if Denmark aspires to keep attracting international interest in energy solutions, we need to continue to be #1 – the Chinese, for instance, only want to pay visits to the absolute leader; attention is not given to the second best.
The half-hour debate and open floor Q&A, led to a remark by Jarl Krausing that there are many related industries following the wave of green technology. Otto Brøns Petersen’s main argument was that the challenge is not to generate jobs, but to generate jobs that create value for economic growth. Kim Behnke expressed that Danish companies have the tendency to be top performers in many ways, such as high production rate and capacity to influence political decisions.
After the debate, the sequence of presentations continued aiming at solutions towards a fossil fuel-free society. Peter Kjær Madsen, energy manager at Forsyning Helsingør, made a company presentation of the CHP plant bought in 2011 from Vattenfall, with a production that is based on wood chips. He announced that the plant will undergo reconstruction so that the energy company’s 18 different locations will be gathered in one place and committed to the reception of guests.
Jørgen Risom, special consultant at the Danish Energy Agency (Energistyrelsen), uttered the importance of greater efforts needed in favor of achieving the Danish government’s energy goal for 2035. His presentation touched upon the use of heat pumps versus biomass, as well as district heating projects eligible for funding and prioritization criteria for selecting these projects.
The last presentation was made by Lars Andreasen, senior vice president of the Energy and Climate Division at SE Energy, who articulated on sustainable energy and modern telecommunication. He defended that any energy strategy should embrace the socioeconomic scope of green transition, thereby going from optimizing the solution to optimizing the whole sector. The customer relationship scope should also be taken into consideration, in order to enable the power to choose and provide a better service. The launch of new products and the collaboration across sectors are likewise essential to create commercial value.
FIF Marketing held a meeting for its members right after the final rounds of presentations. The event continued with welcome drinks and lively presentation by Svend Brodersen, owner of Gram Castle. The evening went onwards with an enjoyable networking dinner and ended with informal drinks and tête-à-tête between Fjernvarmeindustriens members.
Download presentations and see pictures here.