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New plans to expand the Danish district heating network

The waste-to-energy plant, Vestforbrændingen, has signed contracts for expanding the Danish district heating network in the Greater Copenhagen area. The expansion will commence in the first quarter of 2024 and is expected to provide 39.000 additional residents with district heating.

With a network consisting of 60,000 km, the Danish district heating network plays a major part in decarbonising space heating and reaching Denmark’s ambitious climate goals.

Now, Denmark’s largest waste-to-energy company, Vestforbrændingen, has initiated plans to broaden the network even further, by securing contracts totaling EUR 800m. Playing an important part in implementing Vestforbrænding’s Heatplan for 2030, the contract aims to expand the district heating network and services to 39.000 new residents.

The parties expect to commence the network expansion in the first quarter of 2024.

“With today’s signature, we are now ready to start rolling out district heating to many new customers, benefitting the individual heating customers as well as the climate. With the Heat plan for 2030, Vestforbrændning takes a large and significant share of responsibility in the government’s ambitions to phase out oil and gas boilers in Danish homes and instead ensure climate-friendly heating as soon as possible. We ensure efficient utilisation of waste heat and excess heat from companies for the benefit of citizens in our 19 owner municipalities and companies in the capital region.” Steen Neuchs Vede, CEO of Vestforbrænding.

The objective is to extend the reach of district heating to a broader demographic within Vestforbrænding’s 19 owner municipalities in the Greater Copenhagen area, capitalising on the potential of waste heat, surplus heat from businesses, and various energy sources.

This entails a long-term vision of expanding the initiative, opening doors for additional municipalities to participate in the interconnected heating network.

Also read: The arguments for district heating are stacking up

District heating: A cornerstone in Denmark’s green transition

District heating continues to be a cornerstone of the Danish green energy model. For decades, it has presented an efficient way to use our surplus heat and will continue to be a key ingredient to Denmark’s green transition. With its first heat supply law passed in 1979, Denmark regulated the form and content of heat planning in Denmark, marking the beginning of a new era in public heat planning.

Denmark is an exemplary model for how district energy can deliver cost-effective, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly heating and cooling solutions in urban settings.

The production of district heating comes mainly from combined heat and power plants (CHP). Utilising combined heat and power from CHP plants for heat and power generation offers a substantially higher energy efficiency compared to production methods separating the two. A CHP plant may achieve an energy efficiency level of 85-90%, which translates into fuel savings of around 30% compared to separate production setups of heat and electricity.

Today, 98% of Copenhagen and approximately 64% of all Danish residential homes are connected to district heating for space heating and domestic hot water.

District heating thereby, not only ensures that Denmark has a sound and reliable heating supply, but greatly supports maintaining a sustainable energy sector and fulfilling its long-term energy targets.

Fact box

  • The Danish district heating network stretches over 60,000km, a length equivalent to nearly five trips around the world and contains one billion metric litres of hot water flow.
  • 64.5% of Danish households are connected to the district energy network and in Denmark’s four largest cities, more than 95% of the heat demand is covered by district heating.
  • More than 60% of the Danish district heating is produced from renewable sources: biomass, biogas, solar heating, geothermal energy, and electricity.

For more information visit: CleantechWatch (Danish article)

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