By Birger Lauersen, Manager International Affairs, Danish District Heating Association and Vice President, Euroheat & Power
Crunch – time
that district heating and cooling (DHC) can make to the energy transition - to von der Leyen’s “Green Deal”.
Urbandictionary.com defines “crunch time” as: “The interval of time immediately before a project is due, when it becomes apparent that the schedule has slipped, and everyone is going to have to work like dogs to try to complete the project in time.” Have we arrived at crunch time with regard to our efforts to combat climate change? We are certainly in a situation where the European political system is facing the fact that the pressure to deliver on the green transition increases and it’s getting increasingly difficult to kick the can down the road. Promises to deliver have been made, but not met, and a spectrum of organizations and people, stretching from Extinction Rebellion, over Fridays for Future, with Greta Thunberg, to ordinary voters, are increasingly vocal in their demands for action. It is apparent that the timetable has slipped, and we are going to work like dogs to make up for it. That is also the new reality in European politics. The election in May to the new European Parliament brought together a greener assembly, and the European Commission President Elect, Ursula von der Leyen had to commit to proposing a new “Green Deal”, with raised ambitions, within 100 days. This is the reality in which we, the European district heating and cooling sector, will have to find our place. Fortunately, it isn’t hard. Many European cities are working on delivering “a green deal” to their citizens. They have realized that heat is and will remain the dominating demand for energy services. And heating absolutely needs both higher efficiency and a transition to renewable energy. Cities cannot do much about the composition of Europe’s electricity supply or the fuel use in transportation, but they can do something about the heat demand in their city. That’s why we, as a sector, are teaming up with cities in enhancing the understanding that EU stakeholders, the Commissions, Parliament and others, have of the contribution
And cities want to team up with us. But only if we as a sector commit to develop, so that our networks continue to grow smarter, more efficient and better integrated with the wider energy system to help facilitate the overall transition to a decarbonized, more resource efficient and better integrated into the circular economy. We must also strive to evolve together with the needs of our customers, to provide the best possible user experience and let ourselves be guided by the fundamental principles that matters to our cities: fairness, social responsibility and transparency. I’m therefore proud that the European sector, represented by Euroheat & Power - The European association for DHC - offers its commitment to do exactly that. The European DHC Community Decarbonisation Pledge was presented at an event in Brussels on October 1st. And I’m particularly proud of the support this pledge has received by cities all over Europe. A number of mayors of European cities, from Kozani in Greece to Oslo in Norway – from Amiens in France to Võry in Estonia, have given testament to how important DHC is in their efforts to become sustainable. See them at https://www.euroheat. org/vision2050/ This commitment is also a call on the sector that provides services and hardware for the DHC sector. Everybody must be prepared. Not only to deliver more products and services in response to the increased demand for these, which we believe will occur in the coming years, but also to respond to the demand for new and innovative solutions needed to facilitate the growth of DHC in cities outside the traditional DHC countries. I’m confident that the entire DHC industry - utilities, manufacturers, service providers and others – are ready to meet the challenge here at crunch time.
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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