Work Package 3

District Heating Planning and Implementation

This WP focuses on the further development of the planning and management systems based on spatial analysis and geographical information systems (GIS) as a tool for planners and decision-makers. This includes the further advancement of theories and methodologies as well as the design of specific public regulation measures. The latter focuses on how to manage the conflict between implementing energy conservation in buildings and, at the same time, utilising available low-temperature heat sources in district heating, seen from planning, organisational and legal perspectives.

The work package includes the following sub-projects:

WP 3.1: Strategic energy planning in a legal perspective

Hypothesizing that heat planning is challenged by outdated and obsolete plans, emerging low-energy buildings, increased waste incineration and surplus wind energy, this part focuses on the legal aspects of future strategic energy planning. The commitment to heat plans jointly made by municipalities, supply companies and other parties has weakened since 1990, when written plans became optional. Planning is challenged by renewable energy and energy efficiency. Energy price change, technology development and land use change affect the zoning of heat supply, further confronted by the complaint system and legislation. The legal obligations of district councils are considered and a comparison is made of the obligations and the actual behaviour of councils.

WP 3.2: Innovative strategic energy planning and socio-economic development

The hypothesis here is that new technologies will not appear automatically and they do not by design result in a strong socio-economic development. Innovative strategic energy planning is aimed at technological solutions within renewable energy and energy conservation at the consumer level, which may have a larger part of their value added close to the consumers than fossil technologies; thus, generating vital socio-economic development. Research relates to the ability to invest subject to demographic changes and urbanisation; location in the country; support and organisation of financial institutions, consultancies and businesses; ownership models; and the promotion of regional socio-economies. A systematic innovative planning methodology is developed to support the reaping of potential socio-economic benefits.

WP 3.3: Energy atlases to support planning

The premise is that energy demand and supply, energy savings and new supply, renewable energy resources, as well as associated costs can be mapped in spatial databases called Energy atlases. Looking back on a long tradition in Denmark, heat atlases mapped the heat supply and delivered consistent geographical energy data until the early 2000s. Theories, methods and tools are to be developed and tested in participating utilities and municipalities, combining technical data with demographic and socio-economic data to facilitate strategic energy planning. As a product, an energy atlas for Denmark will locate and quantify the current energy system, the potential, and the associated costs of energy efficiency, validated by using real demand for any scale and unit.

WP 3.4: Price regulation, tariff models and sector ownership

The hypothesis here is that incentives can promote rational and efficient behaviour to the benefit of consumers and society. District heating is a monopoly, strictly regulated in terms of prices and tariff models. Price regulating mechanisms have developed over time, leaving a heterogeneous sector with many individual companies. Ownership has changed in recent years, from consumer and municipal to commercial ownership, but leaving the price regulating mechanism unchanged. This part proposes price regulation modes including elements such as benchmarking and income brackets, a split between fixed and variable tariffs, pricing of supply to district heating networks, differentiated prices, cross subsidisation, and entry into markets.

Funded by

InnovationFundDenmark logo 2014