By Greg Gebrail, Sector Specialist – District Energy, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Andrew T. Christensen, Chief Specialist, Energy, COWI A/S; and Anton Dan-Chin-Iu, Principal Banker, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
Ulaanbaatar is the coldest capital in the world, well known for its long harsh winters with temperatures dipping as low as -40°C. The city is growing rapidly, and the current district heating system can only serve approximately half the population. Unfortunately, the city is also known for its dangerously high levels of air pollution, mainly caused by the small coal stoves and boilers that the 0.7 million residents without district heating rely on. By increasing the efficiency of the district heating system and extending it to newly developed districts, residents gain access to reliable heating, cleaner air and a better quality of life. In 2018, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) launched a feasibility study to identify projects to improve the efficiency and reliability of the district heating (DH) system and improve air quality in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. The EBRD is an international financial institution (IFI) that supports the development of sustainable, well-functioning market economies in countries spanning the former USSR, central and eastern Europe and the southern and eastern Mediterranean; it has lent or invested over €700 million in the district energy sector.
A Danish–Mongolian consortium consisting of COWI and local consultant ICON prepared the study in close cooperation with key stakeholders from Mongolia including EBRD Ulaanbaatar, the Ministry of Energy, Energy Regulatory Authority (ERC), Ulaanbaatar Mayor’s Office, Ulaanbaatar District Heating Company (UBDHC), City Housing and Public Utilities Company (abbreviated in Mongolian as OSNAAUG) and representatives of the co-generation plants (TES) which supply the network. Two packages of work were proposed; a US$ 15 million programme for UBDHC focused on extension and technical enhancement of the heat transmission networks, and a US$ 12 million programme for OSNAAUG focused on distribution networks and demand-side measures. Both packages include capacity building and project implementation support for UBDHC and OSNAAUG. A LIFELINE FOR THE CITY For decades, reliable heat supply from the DH infrastructure has been essential for Ulaanbaatar. In addition to the cold harsh climate, anyone visiting in the long heating season will be struck by the high levels of air pollution.
D I S T R I CT ENERGY - SUS TA I NAB L E C I T Y T RANS FORMAT I ON
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