Danish heating sector sets 2030 as date for carbon neutrality


Denmark’s heating sector could be carbon neutral by 2030 according to a report from the Danish District Heating Association. ‘Heat Plan Denmark’ also sets out the steps needed to achieve this. Since 1980, annual CO2 emissions from heating in Denmark have reduced by 25 kg/m2 to 10 kg/m2 of floor area for two main reasons:

1. A 25% saving on heat by customers; and

2. An increase in market share for district heating from 30 to 46%.

District heating is now the main source of domestic heating and hot water in Denmark. The Danish District Heating Association (DDHA) sees such systems as essential to achieving sustainability in the heating sector. The expansion of district heating over the past 30 years has made it possible to develop the role of combined heat and power plants (CHP). As a result, the Danish authorities have implemented a number of CHP plants that rely solely on low carbon technology.

The study is based on an overall least cost evaluation of the best existing technology taking into account the interaction between buildings, district heating and the power system with a large share of wind energy. Report authors Ramboll Danmark A/S and the Department of Development and Planning at Aalborg University are convinced that the progress made to date could be continued. As a result, CO2 emissions from the heating sector could be reduced by another 50% by 2020.

However, further reductions require a concerted effort, and the implementation of a series of initiatives:

  • A target of a further 25% heat saving by consumers is essential – and this saving will have to be matched by a reduction in the return temperature to the district heating network of around 35°C. This is achievable through the collective renovation of the construction envelopes of all buildings.
  • District heating will need to increase from 46 to 63% of market share. This increase will require the conversion of large-scale gas boilers plants to CHPs and renewable energy systems.
  • The majority of new buildings – around 70% – will need to be connected to district heating or block heating networks, while the remainder will be individually supplied as low energy houses.
  • Transition lines will have to be established to use excess heat further in the summer.
  • District heating production has to be complemented by heat storage, more renewable energy sources, CHP plants, solar heating, biomass boilers, geothermal energy and wind energy.


More information:

Danish District Heating Association:

Varmeplan Danmark’ (Summary of the ‘Heat Plan Denmark’ study – Danish only):

Related information on the ETAP Website:
Significant emission reductions possible at a low cost:

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