District heating can play an important, future-proof, and substantial role in the current gas crisis. This fact was forgotten by the International Energy Agency when they released their 10-point plan on reducing the EU’s reliance on Russian gas.
By Jørgen Nielsen, Chairman of the Board, DBDH, Managing Director, TVIS
Therefore, I sent a letter to IEA Executive Director, Dr. Fatih Barol, to make him aware of the role district heating can play both in the very short term and the medium and long term. I also mentioned how district heating is a no-regret solution that will, at the same time, accelerate our route towards a green future.
The 10-point plan includes measures that will have an effect within a year. But it also describes the substantial cost in the form of subsidies and increased costs for end-users. Within that framework, district heating can definitely play along.
We all need to react now. I want to encourage all readers to forward similar letters to Dr. Fatih Barol with your support of our message. We from DBDH will now start interacting with all DH-associations and our local MEPs, and not least make our own government aware of the role we can play. We encourage you to do the same – reach out to your government and let them understand that DH is important – even more so today. The more we sing from the same hymn sheet, the louder we will be heard.
Let me share a few examples of what district heating can do – even though you are already aware of this:
- District heating companies with multiple heat sources can right now (as from the next hour) make production plans that exclude or limit gas use and divert to other readily available sources. That could be heat pumps, surplus energy, biomass, solar, electricity, and even oil.
- Before the next heating season, we can connect many gas-heated buildings neighboring our networks. Build the connection pipe and install a heating unit – job done.
- We can push forward plans to expand networks and accelerate the construction already going on. I talked to two German city governments the other day – they had sent back plans to heat new housing developments with gas and asked for a “proper” solution.
- Each DH company knows precisely which gas users will add most to our goal of avoiding gas. They also know their heat capacity and can combine the two. Let’s at least start with them!
There are 100’s of reasons why things can’t be done, but we are in a proper crisis, and we should do our utmost – “just do it!”.
We also encourage all to remember that investments in district heating are investments we should have done ages ago, so an accelerated effort is long overdue. These investments are future-proof when looking at our ambitions to become carbon neutral soon. Again, a no-regret option.
We are in a gas crisis on the back of the real problem in Ukraine. Strong measures should and must be taken. Therefore, we welcome the 10-point plan and just say that our industry can also play a significant role.
Our industry, you, all of us, can deliver significant results, especially within the time frame and economic conditions set out by the International Energy Agency. We can start delivering today!
I hope you all will act now and take part in making district heating an integrated and essential solution to the current gas crisis and, at the same time, make a huge climate impact.