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Hong Kong delegation visits DBDH to learn about district cooling

by Steffen

A delegation representing key stakeholders from the Hong Kong municipality visited DBDH the 24th September to hear about “the Danish way” with district heating and cooling. Arranged by State of Green the delegation was led by Mr. Albert Cheng from the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) from the Government of Hong Kong, and co-ordninated by Mr. Rocky Yeung, Senior Engineer, CEDD, and Ms. Tammy Tse, Consultant at Arup.

While the primary interest of the delegation was to learn more about the Danish experience with district cooling, the presentation initially presented the Danish district heating history as a gradual transition into the more recent development in Denmark with district cooling.

District heating in Denmark has undergone a tremendous development since its limited spread to smaller townships in the beginning of the 20th century until today where DH covers more than 65 % of the Danish heat demand. Lars Hummelmose, Managing Director of DBDH, presented how district heating came on the national agenda in the 1970’s because of the oil crisis. Now, 40 years after the results of heavy investments in the national heating system has paid off. Whilst the economy has grown since the 1970s the energy consumption has remained stable as a direct consequence of the transition to district heating. Hummelmose explained that it is possible to detach economic growth from energy consumption; something he refers to as “the Danish fairy tale”.

The delegation took particular interest in the economic-political aspects of establishing large investment, such as laying a completely new grid system and connecting houses. In addition, the delegation took notice of what the Danish experience is with gaining customer acceptance to a completely new system. Hummelmose explained how cooperation between utilities, municipalities and state together facilitated and enabled the transition and spread of district heating.

District cooling in Denmark is relatively new. The experiences so far have provided a positive outlook for further expansion. Hummelmose explained how district cooling provides several advantages. Houses could liquidate individual cooling systems that consumes much space on roofs and basements. Furthermore, district cooling could lower the total MW usage in a district ultimately leading to a lower Co2 emission.

The delegation tour ended with a guided tour to the control room of Frederiksberg Forsyning utility and CTR heat transmission company, where the pressure and heat temperature of the district heating grid in a large part of Copenhagen is being centrally managed.