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HEAT PLAN DENMARK 2021 – A CO2 NEUTRAL HEAT SUPPLY CO2 neutral energy systems also mean CO2 neutral heating sectors. However, this raises questions about what technologies should be utilized and to what extent energy savings should be implemented. In Heat Plan Denmark 2021, we investigate these questions and more.

By Peter Sorknæs, Associate professor, AAU. Steffen Nielsen, Associate professor, AAU. Brian Vad Mathiesen, Professor, AAU. Diana Moreno, PhD-fellow, AAU. Jakob Zinck Thellufsen, Associate professor, AAU and Henrik Lund, Professor, AAU.

Like many other countries, Denmark has long-term political goals for going towards a low-carbon society with an energy system based on renewables. The Danish goals are a 70% re- duction of CO 2 emissions in 2030 compared to 1990-levels and a net zero-carbon society in 2050. Such a transition raises many questions about what should be done in each CO 2 emitting sector. Investigating this is especially important for the sectors expected to lead the CO 2 reductions in the coming years. Here, the heating sector is especially interesting as the goal is to get this sector to near-zero CO 2 emissions in 2030. However, a tran- sition of the heating sector raises a slew of different questions, such as: Where is the balance between investments in heat savings and CO 2 neutral heat supply? Where should district heating (DH) be, and where should individual solutions be? What should the individual heat supply be based on? Which heat sources should the DH be based on? What are the in- novative challenges, e.g., low-temperature DH, smart meters, digitization, Power-to-X, data centers, geothermal heat, etc.? In the context of the overall energy system, it is also a question of how the heating sector best can help to integrate renewable energy sources. These questions encouraged us to investigate the future heat- ing system in Denmark and make a new heat plan for Den- mark, Heat Plan Denmark 2021. Besides investigating these questions, the heat plan should also assist authorities and utility companies in planning the heating sector’s transition.

Energy savings in the building stock are impor- tant. A good balance between energy savings and renewable energy must be achieved with low costs and low fuel consumption. This means that a continued focus on building energy renovation is important to implement 32-40% savings. District heating should be expanded to cover 63-70% of the heat market as individual natural gas, and oil-fired boilers are phased out in exist- ing urban areas and as new urban areas emerge. Outside the DH areas, the heat should come from individual heat pumps supplemented by solar thermal. This combination provides the most en- ergy-efficient and flexible solution. In DH, a targeted focus should be placed on a transition to 4th generation district heating with lower temperatures. It provides the lowest cost and most efficient use of geothermal heat, waste heat, and large heat pumps. In future low-carbon energy systems, there is great potential for utilizing geothermal and waste heat from industry, data centers, and Power-to-X. These opportunities should be exploited.

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