DH IS ALSO A PART OF THE SOLUTION TO THE EUROPEAN GAS CRISIS
Interna'onal Energy Agency A0. Dr. Fa'h Barol
Copenhagen, April 8 th , 2022
Dear Dr Fa'h Birol, Dear IEA, .
District heating can play an important, future-proof, and substan- tial role in the current gas crisis. This fact was forgotten by the International Energy Agency when they released their 10-point plan
Thank you for the 10-point plan to reduce the reliance on Russian Natural gas. We fully support the 10 points men'oned here and would also like to highlight the work done by IEA on e.g. the energy efficiency agenda. We find the 10-point plan highly relevant and applaud the speed with which you managed to give a very clear signal to the world on this important ma0er. As a district hea'ng organisa'on with the purpose to support sustainable city development world-wide, i.e., help countries and ci'es to develop district hea'ng as part of their sustainable future, we regret that district hea'ng does not have a more prominent posi'on in the 10-point plan. Allow us to introduce Danish Board of District Hea'ng (DBDH) shortly. We are a Danish membership organisa'on dedicated to support the development of district hea'ng world-wide. Our members are a combina'on of the largest Danish district hea'ng companies, consul'ng engineers and manufacturing companies. We find that a conversion from gas hea'ng to district hea'ng can play an important part in the current crisis - also within the framework given in the 10-point plan. District hea'ng is in many cases capable of making significant contribu'ons both in the short term and off course also in a medium- and long-term perspec've. With the substan'al support mechanism needed to reduce the reliance on Russian natural gas, we an'cipate that district hea'ng can bring results at the same scale and importance as other of the means you bring forward, maybe even at a lower long-term cost. District hea'ng will also keep Europe on route towards the green agenda or at least provide a highway back to the green agenda aSer the crisis – where heat infrastructure interacts with other energy infrastructures to build an efficient and integrated green transi'on for society. District hea'ng will be an important, low-cost, and green tool in the toolbox towards less Russian natural gas, especially under the condi'ons set in your plan (very short term, substan'al economic support, and risk of increased prices). It is among other things possible within short 'me to connect building to exis'ng networks and to change from one heat source to another - in many situa'ons from day to day or from hea'ng season to hea'ng season. Extending exis'ng networks to next-door areas can also be done quickly, and exis'ng plan to develop both new networks and sustainable heat sources can be accelerated. The impact of these ac'ons is substan'al, and they should be calculated and included in the plan. A strong argument in favour of district hea'ng is, that it is a tool that will not jeopardize the green transi'on in the future. District hea'ng will play an important role in the future smart energy infrastructure and therefore is a no-regret solu'on. We encourage you to include district hea'ng much more in your 10-point plan. Maybe to the extent that you add a 11 th recommenda'on. Best regards
on reducing the EU’s reliance on Russian gas. By Jørgen Nielsen, Chairman of the Board, DBDH, Managing Director, TVIS
Therefore, I sent a letter to IEA Executive Director, Dr. Fatih Barol, to make him aware of the role district heating can play both in the very short term and the medium and long term. I also mentioned how district heating is a no-regret solution that will, at the same time, accelerate our route towards a green future.
The 10-point plan includes measures that will have an effect within a year. But it also describes the substantial cost in the form of subsidies and increased costs for end-users. Within that framework, district heating can definitely play along.
We all need to react now. I want to encourage all readers to forward similar letters to Dr. Fatih Barol with your support of our mes- sage. We from DBDH will now start interacting with all DH-associations and our local MEPs, and not least make our own govern- ment aware of the role we can play. We encourage you to do the same – reach out to your government and let them understand that DH is important – even more so today. The more we sing from the same hymn sheet, the louder we will be heard.
Let me share a few examples of what district heating can do – even though you are already aware of this:
District heating companies with multiple heat sources can right now (as from the next hour) make production plans that exclude or limit gas use and divert to oth- er readily available sources. That could be heat pumps, surplus energy, biomass, solar, electricity, and even oil. Before the next heating season, we can connect many gas-heated buildings neighboring our networks. Build the connection pipe and install a heating unit – job done.
We can push forward plans to expand networks and ac- celerate the construction already going on. I talked to two German city governments the other day – they had sent back plans to heat new housing developments with gas and asked for a “proper” solution. Each DH company knows precisely which gas users will add most to our goal of avoiding gas. They also know their heat capacity and can combine the two. Let’s at least start with them!
There are 100’s of reasons why things can’t be done, but we are in a proper crisis, and we should do our utmost – “just do it!”.
We also encourage all to remember that investments in district heating are investments we should have done ages ago, so an accelerated effort is long overdue. These investments are future-proof when looking at our ambitions to become carbon neutral soon. Again, a no-regret option.
We are in a gas crisis on the back of the real problem in Ukraine. Strong measures should and must be taken. Therefore, we wel- come the 10-point plan and just say that our industry can also play a significant role.
Jørgen Nielsen Chairman of the board, DBDH Managing director, TVIS
Our industry, you, all of us, can deliver significant results, especially within the time frame and economic conditions set out by the International Energy Agency. We can start delivering today!
I hope you all will act now and take part in making district heating an integrated and essential solution to the current gas crisis and, at the same time, make a huge climate impact.
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