Cities are growing and we need to create more livable cities to meet the UN Sustainability Goals. Energy plays an important role in air quality, carbon footprint, and fuel poverty. Fortunately, we have opportunities to serve the energy needs in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way due to economy of scale and smartly integrating sectors. This article focusses on Høje Taastrup District Heating Company (HTDHC) in Denmark and how they do it.
By Astrid Birnbaum , CEO, Høje Taastrup District Heating Company and Anders Dyrelund , Senior Market Manager, Ramboll
An inspirational story Astrid Birnbaum, CEO at Høje Taastrup DHC explains: “Our municipality is a western suburb of Greater Copenhagen, and therefore our municipality is co-owner of the district heating transmission company VEKS. For more than 30 years we have been a part of the Greater Copenhagen district heating system. Today more than 95% of the heat is generated at efficient waste and biomass-fueled combined heat and power plants (CHP)”. “However, to meet our national energy policy target, our energy sector has to integratemore wind energy. Therefore, the energy production in the Greater Copenhagen district heating system has started a transition from 95% CHP to a combination of top efficient CHP plants, large heat pumps, electric boilers, and more thermal storage. Thereby the system will be able to support the power grid, integrating the fluctuating wind energy, and responding on the electricity prices – generating electricity in case of large prices and using electricity in case of low prices. Large efficient heat pumps, which can be interrupted when needed, in our district heating system is an efficient way of integrating fluctuating wind energy compared with individual heat pumps. That is, in particular, heat pumps for combined heating and cooling. They use a lot of electricity, and unlike small individual heat pumps and chillers, they can be disrupted when the wind is not blowing and electricity is expensive, or when capacity in the power grid is low.” Inorder tocontribute to this development andmaintain reliable and cost-effective heat to all buildings and family houses, Høje Taastrup District Heating Company has implemented several smart concepts:
District heating and cooling to commercial buildings A business plan for district cooling proved it would be profitable to establish district cooling in combination with district heating, chilled water storage and ground source cooling in a large urban development area for commercial buildings. In doing so, consumers avoid building level installations and could benefit from economy of scale and smarter integration with the utility. “It is a long-term investment, and we must adjust the project while progressing the urban development” Astrid Birnbaum The Heat Supply Act in Denmark has been in force for 40 years. The overall purpose of the Act is to ensure Denmark to get the best solution considering the environmental costs too. The Act promotes local democratic ownership, and thereby efficient management of district heating companies serving the interest of the population and land-owners in the cities. This objective has inspired energy planners and energy utilities to plan and establish integrated solutions benefitting from the symbiosis between sectors.
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