HOT | COOL NO. 3/2022 - "How to get started?"


By Anders Dyrelund, Frederik Palshøj Bigum and Emil Reinhold Kristensen, Ramboll

More than a century ago, all policymakers realized that a modern city needs an in- frastructure for the environment, in fact, two, one for water and one for wastewater. Sanitary installations had priority.

Establish cooperation between ministries in accordance with the EU directive for strategic environmental assess- ment in order to ensure that all ministries remove barriers against cost-effective urban energy infrastructure. Ensure that power plants, waste incineration plants, data centers, electrolysers, and other major sources of waste heat both can and shall be located near cities in order to facili- tate the use of these resources to the full interest of society. Use taxation to encourage all end-users to act in a way, which is of interest to the society, e.g., tax on fossil fuels and tax on ton waste, and let the ministry of energy design the taxes on fuels, waste and electricity at fluctuating prices in order to ensure that it is administrated in accordance with the purpose. Give the local municipal authorities the responsibility for planning the urban energy infrastructure, as they are the planning authority for other urban infrastructure and set down rules to facilitate that this planning is in accordance with the interest of the society at the municipal level, cross municipal borders and at a national level and not least, that the plans can be enforced.

Allow the municipalities to enforce an obligation to connect rule in areas where district heating and cooling is proven to be the most socioeconomic solution – in other words, make sure the citizens get the best solution. This helps secure feasible projects and lower the cost for society. It also gives citizens a clear direction for the most cost-efficient and sus- tainable solution. Use the building code as a tool to ensure that new buildings meet sufficient standards of thermal comfort and HVAC sys- tems for low-temperature heating and high-temperature cooling in a cost-effective way and to ensure that building owners are encouraged to connect to district heating and/ or cooling if this infrastructure is available being the most cost-effective solution. Let the energy planners in the Minis- try of Energy be responsible for the building regulation re- garding energy supply. Develop indicators that reflect the cost of economic, envi- ronmental, and social sustainability and resilient energy. The simple statistics on energy and average climate gas emission do not reflect these important objectives and may confuse building owners.

But how to get started? “Is it the hen or the egg?” Is it at the national or the local level? We think both.

Today, modern societies set high standards, not only for af- fordable energy but also for thermal comfort, clean air, and independency of imported fuels, and they care to prevent cli- mate change.

In Denmark, district heating started in most local communities 50 to 100 years ago, organized by municipal-owned utilities in cities and by the consumer co-operatives in the smaller com- munities. Most of the remaining communities followed shortly after 1979, encouraged by the strong national energy policy and the Heat Supply Act. The Parliament Our recommendations to policymakers at the national lev- el are to create a legal framework with the aim of imple- menting the national energy policy, which should focus on cost-effective, resilient, and environmentally friendly energy services:

Do we have solutions that solve all-in-one in a cost-effective way?

Yes, we have had it for decades, in particular in Denmark. Until recently, this must have been a secret for many policymakers, as we have states that waste huge amounts of energy and are dependent on imported energy. All readers of this magazine know that the secret solution is to establish underground networks for district heating and cool- ing as part of the urban infrastructure. We have the technolo- gy and the methodologies for planning and design. It is just a matter of information and management at a national and local level.

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