HOT|COOL NO. 3/2017 - "North America"


By Jan Strømvig, Managing Director Fjernvarme Fyn and Chairman of DBDH THE COLUMN

District heating is as vibrant as ever – new developments take place, new markets open, new demands from local and national governments are in place, but still district heating continues to provide a solid, economical solution.

At the same time, this will help Facebook become more competitive and live up to their green agenda. I look forward to sharing these discussions and the status in this valuable cooperation between Odense and Facebook in the US next year. This situation shows how national framework conditions (once relevant to guide other industries) can halt the possibility to gain from long-term sustained changes in the energy supply. National framework conditions also affect the market for cooling. The technical opportunities and the demand is well understood and ready to be served. But again, national framework conditions prevent the district heating companies to roll out. District cooling may be as large a business as district heating – the demand is tremendous all over the world. Also in cold countries like Denmark, but even more in areas that enjoy a much warmer climate. Cooling will assist our industry to become more efficient and not least provide an efficient and cost effective technology covering cooling demands and also help in reaching our carbon goals. DBDH, together with other Danish organisations in the Danish district heating sector, has just launched a report on district cooling opportunities in Denmark. An English version of the report will soon be made available. Happy reading and remember to work with both national and local stakeholders to make them understand how cooperation between industry in general and our industry can play an important role in our future heat and cooling demand!

In the US, local authorities say “Sorry Donald, but we go ahead!”, so in some places national governments, no matter how strong they speak out, have little influence as local developers and authorities are in charge. In Denmark on the other hand, national government must clear some obstacles before the local authorities can roll out even more green, low-cost heating solutions. This is a clear indication of how important and how different frame conditions are, and how different players play different roles in different markets. North America already is in a strong position on district heating – especially on university campuses. This issue of Hot Cool introduces the situation in both the USA and Canada. From our side, we welcome a close cooperation with the North American district heating promoters and look forward to expanding our cooperation further. A few well-known multinational companies – originating from the US – will play an active role in keeping district heating green and keep costs down in Denmark. Facebook and Apple datacentres will open in Denmark within a few years. These can provide a lot of heating to nearby small and large cities – if Danish legislation allows. The companies, the people living in Viborg and Odense, and society as a whole can benefit from cooperation through e.g. lowering cost for the companies, creating a greener profile for all, and, not least, can play a role in creating and sustaining jobs. Until now, surplus heat from industry was taxed heavily in Denmark – for good reason, as it inspired the industry to become energy efficient and thereby more competitive. The backside of this was that surplus heat was wasted and not put to good use as the taxes ruined the economic case for district heating. Finally, it seems that Danish government will stop this waste of resources. The supreme court in Denmark has ruled against wasting heat and lifted the taxes, and now the planned Facebook datacentre in the city of Odense, where Fjernvarme Fyn operates a large DH system, can play a vital role in making our heat better, cheaper and greener. The industry in Denmark welcomes this new opportunity.


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