HOT|COOL NO. 4/2021 - "Going Greener"

Overview of the general best practies for the urban planning phase


General best practices

Business case and costs

Start planning with large consumers

Focus on locally available renewable energy sources or waste energy sources

Work togerher with other utilites

Have a clear risk and respponsibility package from the beginning

Visualise the business case from the start, including what a change in conditions will do


Have a long-term heat strategy

Have an overview of public buildings with a large energy demand

Social acceptance

Communication prior, during and after project execution with lical stakeholders

Involve the local population during the planning phase

Remove the investment barriers for customers

Regulation, policy and subsidy

Have a smooth process for approvals from the municipality

Policy should have a guiding role

Use EU support funds to finance projects

Other strategic items

When you lack knowledge or experience, collaborate with (international) partners

Take your time for the planning phase

A transparent process and joint commitment of the stakeholders involved

DBDH and TNO interviewed eight cities from across Europe and aimed at finding cities as diverse as possible.

They then distilled the outcome of all these interviews into a series of best practices through a scoring system. The more often a best practice is mentioned, the more important it is. Many of the best practices were uniform across the different parameters (geography, experience, etc.). They would be rele- vant to a vast majority of cities looking into making a new DH network. They concluded that the list of best practices could be used as a checklist for planners to identify a series of checkpoints that are important to be aware of. After finishing the report, they made a podcast and webinar, where the results were dis- cussed in detail (see text boxes). 25 best practices The list of best practices is long – we identified 16 best prac- tices for planning and 9 for construction. Again, the mere fact that nearly twice as many best practices on planning were identified compared to best practices on construction indi- cates that proper planning is the one factor that can make a district heating successful.

The eight cities were Aalborg in Denmark, Salaspilz in Lat- via, Olsztyn in Poland, Madrid in Spain, Antwerp in Belgium, Bruchsal in Germany, Milan in Italy, and Drechtsteden in the Netherlands, so they covered most of the EU. The cities’ back- ground was also diverse from minimal experience (e.g., Ant- werp, with the first project) to vast experience in planning and construction of DH networks (e.g., Aalborg and Salaspilz, who has operated DH system for decades). They interviewed each city thoroughly to understand what they found essential for carrying out a successful project. First, the DH company or the operator of the DH system was in- terviewed, followed by the relevant person at the municipal organization who was involved in the planning and approval process. They made both a written questionnaire and a live interview. In addition, they conducted desk research on the eight countries to provide context to the best practices con- cerning energy policy and support mechanisms for DH.

20 HOTCOOL no.4 2021

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