Home Featured LIVELY DEBATE ABOUT THE DH FUTURE AT THE ENERGY POLICY CONFERENCE

LIVELY DEBATE ABOUT THE DH FUTURE AT THE ENERGY POLICY CONFERENCE

by Linda Bertelsen
Energipolitisk Konference 2024

District heating is in top form, and we are now gearing up for future challenges. That was one of the messages at this year’s Energy Policy Conference in Copenhagen, which sparked a lively debate about the future of district heating.

Photos by Jesper Voldgaard

The Danish District Heating Association, along with DBDH, FIF, and Grøn Energi, once again hosted the yearly edition of the Energy Policy Conference yesterday at the Carlsberg Museum & Business Centre.

A reduction in biomass usage, far more electricity-based solutions, CO2 capture, and notably, many more customers. These were some of the topics discussed at this year’s Energy Policy Conference at the Carlsberg Museum in Copenhagen, organized by the District Heating Information Fund, DBDH, the think tank Green Energy, and Danish District Heating.

At the conference, attendees could hear from Stine Leth Rasmussen, Vice Director at the Danish Energy Agency responsible for the Center for System Analysis & Innovation and the Center for Global Advisory, who outlined the text from the NEKST working group, which, as known, has submitted its recommendations on how to accelerate the phasing out of natural gas.

They could also meet Stine Grenaa, Vice President at Energinet, who gave a presentation on whether the electricity system is geared towards the increased use of electricity, as seen, for instance, by Danish district heating plants.

Energipolitisk Konference 2024, photo by Jesper Voldgaard

Rune Moesgaard: “We need to eliminate the uncertainty that the price cap brings with it so we can utilize the vast amounts of surplus heat coming from industry and data centers.” Photo: Jesper Voldgaard.

Advancing sustainability: District heating’s role in gas phase-out

Attendees also heard from Rune Moesgaard, Political Director at Danish District Heating, who reported on how district heating companies have contributed to phasing out gas and what it takes to accelerate this task further.

“We can see that since the beginning of 2022, 25% of private gas furnaces have been phased out, leaving around 300,000 gas furnaces. The majority of them have been converted to green district heating, and we expect to convert an additional 35,000 homes with gas furnaces this year and even more next year,” says Rune Moesgaard, continuing:

“We have been very clear about what our members say works in practice. That’s more money in the district heating fund, a soon-to-be end date for the use of gas in residential heating, and the possibility of longer depreciation periods for pipes. With that fulfilled, I expect we can take a significant step closer to the goal of offering green district heating to as many people as possible.”

Eliminating the price cap on surplus heat

During the political debate, there was also good news for the many attendees from the Social Democrats’ energy spokesperson, Lea Wermelin. It was about one of the stumbling blocks that has been significant in the district heating sector, preventing companies and industry from utilizing surplus heat. A so-called price cap that was supposed to limit the price of surplus heat actually means that companies may be forced to use other energy sources that are both more expensive and far less green.

To this, the energy spokesperson said that the price cap as we know it must go. It is the Social Democrats’ policy, and she is relatively optimistic that it will also become a reality.

“It’s really good news, which I’m sure the industry will welcome very much. We need to eliminate the uncertainty that the price cap brings with it so we can utilize the vast amounts of surplus heat coming from industry and data centers. That’s why I’m very pleased with the announcement from Lea Wermelin today,” says Rune Moesgaard.

Translated from the original article on the Danish District Heating Association’s website.