European Energy Efficiency legislation adopts 35 years of Danish experience.

A cornerstone in the coming EU Energy Efficiency Directive is to develop the district heating based on Combined Heat and Power (CHP). Local authorities shall develop heat plans and power companies shall install new power capacity with CHP near heat markets. This is what we have been doing in Denmark with great success since 1980. Ramboll has taken part in this development at all stages and is ready to transfer the experience to the rest of Europe.

“On 22 June 2011 the European Commission made its proposal for an Energy Efficiency Directive, which brings forward measures to step up Member States efforts to use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain – from the transformation of energy and its distribution to its final consumption.”

The directive is unique, because it co-ordinates the energy supply sector and the end-use sector and it supplements other important directives.

The overall aim of all the energy related directives is to guide member states to reduce the dependency of fossil fuels in a cost effective way.

For the energy supply sector, the proposal requires Member States:

  1. to adopt national heating and cooling plans for all local and regional authorities to develop the potential for high-efficiency generation and efficient district heating and cooling, and to ensure that spatial planning regulations are in line with these plans
  2. to adopt authorisation criteria that ensure that all new power plant installations are located in sites close to heat demand points and that all new electricity generation installations and existing installations that are substantially refurbished are equipped with high-efficiency CHP units

These requirements are fully in line with the Renewable Energy Directive, which also states that local and regional authorities shall elaborate heating and cooling plans to identify where it is cost effective to supply buildings with low carbon energy through these smart grids.

Likewise the Building Directive requires that buildings shall be nearly zero taking into account using CHP and renewable energy sources via the district heating and cooling infrastructure, whenever it is cost effective compared with individuel solutions.

These requirements are already implemented in Denmark, as regards the heating, whereas the cooling and the building regulation lacks behind

Since the first Danish Electricity Supply Act was adopted in 1976, all new power capacity has been located near cities and equipped with efficient CHP units

Since the first Danish Heat Supply Act was adopted in 1980, all local authorities have developed heating plans to utilize the CHP potential from existing and new CHP plants as well as renewable energy sources.

The city of Århus was the first city to adopt a heat plan in accordance with the act and it was co-ordinated with the approval of refurbishment of an existing power plant, Studstrupværket.

The Copenhagen Region was the first region to adopt a regional heat plan and many municipal heat plans which were co-ordinated with approval of a completely new power plant at a new site close to the city, namely Avedøreværket, see picture

The result of this co-ordinated energy efficiency planning of CHP and heat supply in Denmark is remarkable. The consumption of fossil fuels for the heating sector has been reduced to 40 % in 30 years in the most cost effective way for the society of Denmark. The main elements in the plans have been an extensive expansion of the district heating market and the share of CHP in the district heating production. Heat from a CHP plant reduces the themal losses from power only plants. Therefore the fuel consumption of heat from efficient CHP plants is only around 30% compared to boilers . In Heat Plan Denmark we have demonstrated this development and showed how the heating sector can be independent of fossil fuels within the coming 20 years in a cost effective way.

Ramboll has taken part in all this development and is well prepared to transfer this experience to all other EU member states.


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