Members meeting

Date: 19/06/2017

DBDH held its latest members meeting in beautiful surroundings at Comwell campus Klarskovgaard, Korsør.
The theme of the summer meeting this time was North America and Networking.

The new chairman of DBDH, Jan Strømvig, managing director at Fjernvarme Fyn, introduced the program of the day, and after this three new members of DBDH introduced themselves: DE Valves, Frederikshavn Utility and Energy-Service.

DE Valves was represented by Kenth Lindgaard. The company is a Danish manufacture of flow-optimized ball valves for pre-insulation.
The high performance ball valves are specially designed for the tough conditions in district heating- and district cooling networks. In order to ensure long lifetime and safe operation of our valves, they never compromise on quality, and the valve design has been continuously optimized and improved during the last +35 years. An example is the use of acid proof steel for our spindles and components outside the insulation; this in order to have the most robust design for demanding challenges in the field. From the factory located in Denmark, DE Valves offers a very flexible, experienced, and fast support to our customers – also when it comes to customer specified products.

Frederikshavn Utility
From Frederikshavn Utility came Claus Reimann Petersen, Managing Director, and Lars B. Østergaard, Utility Manager, who talked about the organization, key figures and the economic development of the company.
The company supplies heat and hot water for private households and businesses in the city Frederikshavn. The heat comes from the waste CHP plant in Frederikshavn, Frederikshavn CHP plant, and from two local boiler plants. The two CHP plants produce electricity and heat thus exploits they energy most efficiently. The supply utility works preventively and focused on reducing the impacts that the production has on the environment, employees and the surrounding community.

Kim Hansen from Energy-Service spoke about the company’s intelligent heat grids, and the typical challenges of a heat grid. The company has many years of experience in delivering solutions that combine our knowledge of software, electronics, IT and practical experience from industrial and energy companies. Energy-Service was founded in Denmark in 2011 and has grown to supply more than 20 % of the Danish market in district heating plants with another 50 % of the market knowing the value of the Energy-Service brand, providing customers with solutions for data logging and energy optimization.

After the presentations by some of the newest DBDH-members, managing director of DBDH Lars Hummelmose introduced the first speaker to the theme North America. Many of the DBDH members are already present on this market, and DBDH is supporting members in this respect.

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On the top 3 -list of American district energy experts is Ken Smith, president and CEO of Ever-Green Energy, Saint Paul, who was there to share his expectations to the future development of district energy in North America, also seen in the light of the new Trump Administration.
Ken Smith talked about the electric grid transformation which is really an infrastructure transformation, and he elaborated on how to encourage circular economy. Ken also talked about the most important trend, a mega trend actually, namely the age of the customers. Customers are compelling their infrastructure providers toward sustainability. Customers are different today; the want change; they want disruption.
What is a disruption is President Trump. According to Ken, he is a disruptor in the world and a disruptor in the country. But luckily, Trump is not a disruptor in the industry. Foundations will continue to step in with money and developments, and states, cities and small and large companies will continue to support the development of renewable energy. To illustrate this is the fact that most renewable energy is actually produced in “red”, i.e. “Trump”, states.
So Trump is not a challenge. However, there are challenges, e.g. the lack of holistic thinking, lack of relatable success stories and lack of for supportive partners and resources. Also local leadership can be a challenge. But, all in all, Ken is optimistic about district energy and its future in North America.

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After a networking break Jakob Erik Schmidt from the Danish General Consulate in Toronto and Jakob Bjerregaard from the Danish Embassy in Washington talked about market opportunities for Danish district heating technology in North America. DDEA, District Energy Alliance, was established with this purpose two years ago, and many DBDH members are partners in DDEA. These two could also the confirm that it is not all bad with Trump – as he is actually looking to spend money as opposed to the Democrats and other Republicans.
The two Jakobs touched upon major external trends and prioritization of segments.
One subject was the universities and their strategy which is to push hot water conversions and extensions to, connect to Danish technology and promote export credits.  The universities are not small entities but big institutions.
Commercial projects and utilities have the strategy of supporting project development and engage with owners on business models and eventually enter into consortia where relevant.
The strategy of public supported projects is to engage army & first nation stakeholders, promote district energy solutions and partner with ESCOs. However, city projects are much more complicated than campuses.
Some key barriers to the market are the obsolete technical standards, little experience with thin walled, bonded pipes, Little knowledge with municipalities/authorities and high risk aversion. But there are also opportunities: Steam-to-hot water conversion tech-package, water treatment, metering, Scada/Control systems and heat recovery/heat pumps.
Some good key projects are going on, e.g. Burlington and Juneau, Alaska – and a good case could be to convert the White House…

Jens Ole Hansen, Rambøll, concluded the theme North America with his interesting and engaging presentation that included do’s and don’ts in the North American market. One very important advice according to Jens Ole Hansen is to be aware of the size and diversity of the US – and to accept that is not possible to really grasp and therefore get some assistance when trying to enter this huge market. When thinking about the US, it makes sense to compare the country to Europe, and see these countries as 50 states of Europe.
Jens Ole Hansen compared the difference between the Danes and the Americans to the difference between the Danish and the American pancake, and gave several pieces of advice on how to act when in the US. He also gave the advice to ignore New York, in which it is very difficult to do a project – there are many other places that are much easier. One useful tool is to network, network, network, which led us to the final presentation as well as theme of the day: Networking.


Mark Patterson from the Network Academy began by establishing the fact that money is not logic. Economy is not science – it is all about feelings! Mark promised to offer inspiration for how to find the right button for optimising the business in terms of networking. To do this, the audience was placed in various different groups in order to discuss networking: what do we think of networking, what are the opportunities, what are the downfalls, is it easy, is it hard, and is it worth it..? It certainly is, according to Mark, who also claimed that networking is really about the distribution of money, sex and power (like the motif of murders!), and he gave several examples to prove this.
Mark finally set out to identify the 10 success factors in networking, which included network discipline (make a network strategy – and put it in writing), visualisation (too many databases and lists are a waste of time), timing (create relations in non-emergency situations), and establish a structure designed for growth.

After Mark’s inspiring and thought-provoking part, Comwell Campus has arranged an outdoor, physical sudoku competition, and the meeting ended with, appropriately, networking and dinner.

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All the presentations from the event can be found here:

Velkomst v/ DBDH’s formand Jan Strømvig
DE Valves, Kenth Lindgaard
Frederikshavn, Lars B. Østergaard
Energy Service, Kim Hansen

Expectations of district energy development in North America, Ken Smith, CEO, Ever-Green Energy
Markedsmuligheder for dansk fjernvarmeteknologi i Nordamerika, Jakob Erik Schmidt, Det Danske Generalkonsulat i Toronto/ Jakob Bjerregaard, Den Danske Ambassade i Washington

DO’s and DONTs in doing business in North America, Jens Ole Hansen, Rambøll