instead, it is a vehicle to promote discussions around a framed topic. This can create engagement, focus, and trust. The plan will not magically materialize its conclusions in the real world, but it can develop common understandings and creative dia- logue.

cus, then heat prices and savings might be more important.

The plan allows the different actors to discuss and try to see themselves in this potential future and to argue about what they like and do not like. In this perspective, a plan is not “a traditional cookbook recipe for “how to make district heating”;


How to make a plan? And now to the 1000€ question: how to make a success- ful plan for district heating supply? In my research, I found three elements that are part of a good plan for district heating supply. The first two elements are recommenda- tions for the municipalities, utility companies, and local actors who deal with the specific implementation. The last recommendation is for state-level actors responsible for the regulatory framework that shapes heat planning activities. First, a plan depends upon the local context. It depends upon all the different local conditions that must be considered. Plans should highlight these considera- tions, show how different actors can be part of the plan, and highlight the specific elements that drive the pro- ject. They do not need to be specifically district heating plans, but district heating can be one potential supply among other types, such as individual heat pumps. This way, each municipality and local government will look into and explore which different options exist and which options make sense for their specific conditions. Second, the plan is a tool for dialogue. Use the plan to determine which actors can see themselves in the po- tential new heat supply and which cannot. Most will need to make compromises, and perhaps some – fos- sil fuel interests – will need to be excluded. The results

will be different from the first draft plan, but if there is agreement about the purpose, conditions, and targets, then most likely, the result will still be within a reasona- ble target. Third, transparency and agreement about the funda- mental parts of a plan are necessary. There must be agreement about calculation methods and assump- tions, price forecasts, and technology development. If no agreement has been reached, there is a risk that the whole process will discuss assumptions and not results. In Denmark, we have public authorities who publish technology price catalogs and energy price forecasts. They might not always be correct, but at least there is a common reference point. Last, it is essential to remember that the results of working with a plan are emergent from the process and not given beforehand. As Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones famous- ly sang: “You can’t always get what you want - But if you try sometimes, well, you might find - You get what you need.” My advice is, therefore, to get out there and start planning and involving stakeholders. And do not be too afraid to make mistakes because they will come. But with the current challenges facing heat supply around Europe, we need to try to change how we provide heat for our homes..

Nis Bertelsen

Who will benefit from reading this article? Professionals working with new or expanding district heating systems. Whether they work on a state level making the right framework conditions or on the ground with implementation, this article provides a new look at the technical and economic plans and how they can bring different actors together. What will your findings do for DH? We urgently need to change our heat supply systems, and district heating is part of the solution. This article provides a new perspective on the district heating plan's purpose and how to think about the implementation process. The article is about the many different actors and their reasons who have to come together to invest in and build district heating systems. These many actors with different starting points have to work together and agree on how the district heating system should be built. Often a technical and economic plan is made, and this article discusses the role of this plan.

For further information please contact: Nis Bertelsen,

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