Copenhagen’s district heating relies largely on biomass and waste incineration power plants, but net-zero carbon targets are now encouraging suppliers to harness energy from renewables and industrial by-products
Companies were set up by the municipalities to run the consolidated heating networks. There is now a 180km hot-water transmission system in Greater Copenhagen, operated by CTR, VEKS and Vestforbrænding, which runs a large CHP waste incinerator. Owned by local authorities, they supply heat from waste incinerators and CHP plants to 21 distribution networks. Hofor operates a steam system covering 20% of the system; this is being replaced by hot-water district heating. There are 500,00 end users and 9,600GWh of heat is supplied.
VEKS, owned by 11 municipalities, was established in 1984. Since then, the CHP plants connected to its transmission network have been converted from imported oil and coal to natural gas and biomass, and it bought a biomass CHP plant in Køge in 2012.
While baseload is now covered by biomass and surplus heat from waste incineration, VEKS’ managing director, Lars Gullev, sees that changing in the future. ‘There are a lot of discussions around whether biomass is sustainable, but it is the only alternative to make a quick reduction in CO2 emissions. In the long run, there will be other actors.’