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Sector coupling is good business

by Linda Bertelsen
Dutch Networking Companies on Study Tour to Denmark

– Dutch Networking Companies on Study Tour to Denmark 

On the 9th-10th of November, 18 persons from large networking companies and a publicly owned bank went on a district heating study tour to Denmark. The visitors were quite surprised by the excellent business cases of district heating companies investing in power-to-heat solutions.

They visited Assens Fjernvarme and Sdr. Felding Fjernvarme (district heating companies). Both can greatly keep heat prices low due to producing electricity with biomass CHP when power prices are high and making heat with electrical boilers and large-scale heat pumps when power prices are low or even negative. This is combined with large thermal storage facilities so that they can use the “electrical heat” over several days.

Sector coupling – the balancing of energy

Today, the Danish district heating sector plays a crucial role in supporting the balancing of the electricity sector with a large amount of fluctuating renewable power – this is sector coupling. They do not have to turn off the windmills due to too much power production, and the DH sector can produce energy when there is a lack of renewable power.

The importance of sector coupling between heat and power was confirmed at a meeting with Energinet (TSO), which owns, operates, and develops the transmission systems for electricity and gas in Denmark. Here, they also presented the integrated solid role the large district heating sector in Denmark will play in the future to balance the power grid and that the power distribution net must be much larger if each house had its own individual heat pump.

Producing heat and power from recycled waste

The delegation also paid a visit to Vestforbrænding – which recycles waste and produces heat and power from the waste that cannot be recycled. Here, electricity production is considered a by-product of the more valuable heat production. Vestforbrænding has large investment plans to invest in carbon capture that will be ready before 2030. Carbon capture is a “license to operate” for future waste incineration plants.

Fjernvarme Fyn will be carbon negative

Finally, Fjernvarme Fyn (DH company) also presented their plans for carbon capture on waste incineration and in the future on the biomass CHP plant and thereby, Fjernvarme Fyn will be carbon negative and help the city of Odense to be carbon neutral in 2050. The “green carbon” from biomass will, in the future, be a commodity that can support the business case of carbon capture.

If you want to learn more about DH development in Denmark, please get in touch with Lars Hummelmose at lh@dbdh.dk.