HOT | COOL NO. 4/2022 - "How to get started?"

HOW TO START WITH SUSTAINABLE DISTRICT HEATING: A FLANDERS/ BELGIAN MUNICIPALITY APPROACH Municipalities in Flanders and Belgium are starting to implement sustainable district heating, and they can use a three-step methodology in this starting phase: Let’s meet: The energy broker

Let’s plan and map: Heat zoning plans and maps Let’s calculate and design the optimal trajectory at a municipality scale: Pathway optimization

By Esther Biermans, Energy Broker, Province of Antwerp, Glenn Reynders, R&D Professional Sustainable Urban Development and Robbe Salenbien, Senior Researcher, PhD

Energy broker A large proportion of our total energy consumption is used for heat, both for industry and for domestic heating. We current- ly use fossil fuels almost exclusively for this purpose and mak- ing heat more sustainable is essential for the transition to a low-carbon energy system. The great challenge here is to bring providers and consumers of heat into contact with each other. And there is often still a prior step missing: making companies aware of the potential of available (residual) heat that they can supply to consumers. To facilitate this energy exchange, energy brokers can be brought in. The energy broker is a public broker who connects (residual) energy from companies to potential energy custom- ers. It is a methodology developed in the Interreg-DOEN pro- ject (Sustainable Development Energy Neutrality) in Flanders and the Netherlands, from 2018 to 2021. The Interreg-DOEN project has now come to an end, but many Flemish and Dutch partners continue to take on the role of energy broker. A fol- low-up project and the platform for the energy broker (https:// are now being developed. The platform is an online community on which energy brokers can exchange knowledge and experiences and offer training to new partners who want to offer themselves as energy brokers. Residual heat from companies can be exchanged with other companies, public buildings, or even private partners. For lo- cal authorities, it is not always easy to make this jigsaw puzzle of heat supply and demand fit together. From the very begin- ning, the independent energy broker acts as a liaison between the various partners in a joint energy project such as a district

heating network. For public authorities, the energy broker can therefore, together with all stakeholders, focus on the objec- tives of the project and establish the link between supply and demand. What are the possibilities? Who are the right part- ners? How will the district heating network become workable in the long term? All these questions are taken into account by the energy broker to make the project a success. Once the right partners are in contact, the objectives are defined and the project has gotten off to a good start, the energy broker can take a step back and leave the actual elaboration of the project to the project partners. Heat zoning plan, heat policy plan, heat vision, heat zoning maps Cities and municipalities are thinking hard about how they can help achieve European, national and regional climate ambitions locally. One of the issues here is how buildings will be heated in the future. In order to realize a well-considered energy transition, heat zoning plans are a particularly useful instrument. A heat zoning plan maps out a vision for the fu- ture by indicating for the territory of a municipality in which neighbourhoods and streets sustainable heat can be supplied via a heat network in the future, or where sustainable heat will be produced at individual building level. Ideally, such a heat zoning plan goes together with a heat policy plan – which in- cludes the policy steps to realize the heat zoning plan – and is based on a thorough local heat vision and analysis of the local context.

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