That is the main conclusion from Managing Director at Ramboll Canada Pernille M. Overbye, when she speaks at The Globe – a global leadership conference on the business of the environment in Vancouver, Canada, this week.
Pernille M. Overbye points out that we need to use our resources more efficiently – not only to reduce our impact, but also to be more competitive. “Our cities need to be liveable in order to create an environment that attracts businesses, residents and visitors. District energy goes hand in hand with liveability. If your city intends to stay ahead of competition, district energy is a key enabler”, Pernille M. Overbye explains.
Growth and CO2-reduction
She refers to the Danish example, where district heating has helped spark growth while at the same time reducing CO2 emissions. GDP is up 40% from 1990, while CO2 in the same period is down 30%.
And the development continues; now with even more interaction with waste-to-energy, solar and wind power – and with more flexibility and change between energy sources in the system.
One of the key factors in this transition is the district heating system: Over 60% of all households in Denmark are connected to a heat network, and there is no power station without heat off-take – which makes energy production very effective.
At the same time a new white paper from the public-private partnership State of Green concludes that “district energy is a well proven concept, which can spur green growth and will be a central part of a flexible energy system”.
Long time planning and political stability
Pernille M. Overbye acknowledges that Denmark has built up its district energy system over a period of more than 40 years – with consensus-seeking politicians using long time planning and a carrot-and-stick-strategy in the tax system and other legislation.
But some of the lessons learned can be transferred and implemented in energy policy climates less stable than Denmark’s.
Market Director from Ramboll Environ Mette Søs Lassesen is also participating at the Globe Conference.
The Globe has for the past 25 years served as a kind of nexus for global networking and leadership on the business of the environment.
The slogan of this year’s conference is “Bye bye, Business as usual”.
By Michael Rothenborg, Ramboll