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


the infrastructure. However, since very few successful examples of such structures exist in the US, and foreign case studies are deemed of limited relevance, a true shakeup in city utility structures seems unlikely to happen anytime soon. Despite these barriers, observers of the US district energy market expect that export growth rates of district energy products are to accelerate to 6% by 2020 and 15% by 2025 from Denmark to the US market alone. As more and more highly efficient district energy systems get planned or built in North America, the evidence of massive savings, both in terms of money and CO2 emissions, becomes more easily accessible to US stakeholders. Furthermore, efforts to set up workshops and seminars in the US, as well as bringing US decision makers and energy planners across the Atlantic to see active systems, have proven successful ways to disseminate knowledge. With the market for energy efficiency technologies growing consistently for years, reaching a global total of USD 231 billion in 2016 despite low energy prices, and the district heating market alone slated to exceed USD 280 billion by 2024, it seems highly likely that solutions like district energy will have an expanded market in years to come. The appetite for energy efficiency and sustainable solutions, such as District Energy, is driven by many different forces that show no sign of slacking, and seem able to resist potential federal disincentives. The DEA is convinced that modern district energy systems will remain unaffected by national political trends and will continue to take root in the US market in the years to come.

Military facilities have enormous potential in the long run, since the US military has hundreds of active facilities across the country that all have energy efficiency goals under federal regulation. However, federal military bases have long sales cycles and deal primarily with large consortiums and ESCO contracts, built around federal procurement as opposed to individual suppliers. When it comes to the military, and city governments, the DEA engages as a neutral strategic partner giving access to knowledge in Danish cities and public utilities to their American counterparts in order to facilitate new solutions and partnerships across the Atlantic.


Two of the major challenges to wider adaptation of district energy systems in the US market are: a lack of knowledge dissemination and standard US utility structures. Firstly, there is a remarkable lack of knowledge on the advances within district energy technologies that have been made in Europe over the last 30-or-so years. Steam systems without digital integration and surprising levels of heat/water losses and power costs are still being constructed and expanded. As a result of this, we are frequently told by various institutions and stakeholders that they wish they had heard of our systems (low temperature/fourth generation) before having started recent expansions or renovations. This lack of knowledge, and a general lack of applicable skills in contracting companies, leads to very high estimations of risks and civic costs when considering conversion to modern hot water systems. Secondly, despite active political goals regarding district energy in quite a few US cities (Boston, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. to name a few), local governments are hard pressed to carry out comprehensive energy planning. This is due in large part to the limited direct influence most US cities have over the utilities that provide them with energy services, which makes accessing consumption data and other critical data points very challenging. UNIQUE STRUCTURE OF US MARKET In many countries with high district energy adaptation, municipal/local governments play a direct role in approving new heating supply projects. Where district energy companies are formed, local authorities generally have a hands-on approach to ensuring that the offered heating product maximise benefits to the community while offering low prices. In addition to price and overall community benefit, municipalities have another pathway to reaching local emission goals or contributing to national climate targets, through a more direct engagement. The generated funds of such local utilities are necessarily cordoned off from political siphoning and kept within the company; where the resources, after covering costs, go towards optimising efficiency, maintenance and investing in

For further information please contact:

Embassy of Denmark Att.: Niels Frederik Malskær 3200 Whitehaven St. NW Washington, DC 20008

Phone: +1 (202) 234-4300

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