Grundfos Holding A/S describes here the future heating in Europe. It will be dominated district heating and heat pump as we plan for the climate crisis.
As we move towards decarbonising heat technologies, the future of heating in Europe is going to be dominated by heat pumps and district heating. Planning is essential for us to be successful on this journey and find the most efficient solutions in the right places.
Humanity is facing one its greatest challenges, reaching the Paris Agreement goal of staying below 2° global temperature rise by 2100. In July 2021, the European Union introduced its ‘Fit-for-55’ package which is intended to Pave the way for 55% greenhouse gas emission decrease in 2030Comparable to 1990, and carbon neutrality by 2050. While the European Union is a global lighthouse and leader, the road to reaching the goals is still bumpy.
Attaining climate neutrality
Climate neutrality can be difficult to achieve due to rising energy costs, which are higher than the expansion of. renewable energy production,Massive fluctuations in energy costs and civil resistance to changes that affect everyday living conditions have led to massive fluctuations in the prices of energy. The absence of concrete plans that take climate and responsibility into account is worrying.
We cannot wait any longer to lower our carbon emissions and we, therefore, need to do the green transition right the first time, so we don’t have to go back to the drawing board when it is too late. The heating sector is currently awash with unused energy, carbon-neutral possibilities, such as solar, wind, and geothermal. It also has surplus heat from industry, data centres, and other sources. We have all the energy we need, but we need to create a district heating infrastructure that can efficiently use them.
Why is strategic heat planning important?
Heating our buildingsOne sector that needs to make a rapid green and socially responsible transformation is the energy sector. Currently, 50% of the EU’s energy consumption goes to heating and cooling and most of this is for space heating. However, only 13% and 44% of Europe’s thermal energy comes from renewable sources. (1) This is why it is imperative that we make a swift transition to energy-efficient and climate-neutral heating. However, this must be possible for all income levels.
Strategic heat planning will help you find the most cost-effective heating sector transitions by utilizing all of our energy resources using current technology. We can make a green transition today by making an impactful heat plan. This will allow us to use all heat resources from different sectors and create the most efficient heating sector for society.
Heat pumps will be hugely used in district heating and individual heat pump use by 2050. District heatingIn cities, individual heat pumps are the most cost-effective option, while city heat pumps are the most effective in reducing heat loss. To ensure the most efficient solutions, heat planning must be utilized.
Strategic heat planning is not done. With today’s technologies, we can harvest a much greater spectrum of different energies for our heat supply. New technologies in district heating can lower the temperature and allow us to connect geothermal power directly. District heating can also connect heat that is being lost from the production and operation of data centers and industries. It is crucial that local decision-makers coordinate and integrate energy resources from different sectors so that we can reduce our total energy consumption.
Heat planning can ensure more stable energy production as we move onto renewable energy sources. Both solar and wind energy are subject to fluctuations in energy production and do not always meet our energy demands. However, storing excess energy in heated water or rocks district heating is a great way to help electrify by storing the energy for later use.
Strategic heat planning will ensure that the green transition to the heating sector is transparent for the public. Citizens can be more informed about the future of heating in their community and how it will affect their future housing conditions by being informed.
What can be achieved – Heat plan Denmark 2021 (2)
Strategic heat planning has existed for many years. However, today’s politicians must understand its true potential for turning the tide against climate change. This potential was recently demonstrated in Heatplan Danish 2021 by Aalborg University. It is a GIS mapping and heat strategy for Denmark that includes all possible energy sources and district heating grids.
The project shows that Denmark has found the most cost-effective way to create a carbon-neutral heating industry.
- Renovations to the building stock can save 32%-36% on heating energy demand
- District heating grid expansion to meet 63%-70% heating demand
- The transition towards 60° temperature in district heating
- Integration of geothermal heat (17% of heat supply by 2045) and surplus heating (21%). (4)
Heatplan Denmark 2021 also includes usable GIS maps for utilities and municipalities. These maps can be used to create heat strategies and check heating demand, as well as possible energy sources such geothermal and surplus heat.
Similar work has been done in Europe using tools such as HeatRoadMap Europe (5 and HotMaps 6 (6), which were also created in collaboration with Aalborg Universität. These tools encourage similar pathways to Heatplan Denmark in other European heating sectors.
It is not enough to plan heat for the Paris Agreement. This shows how the heating sector can be a part of our collective effort to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020. Heat planning can help us transition quickly and cost-effectively, while also being socially responsible and reducing our energy consumption.
Therefore, we strongly support the European Commission’s proposals for mandatory national and municipal heat strategies in their revised Energy Efficiency Directive from July 2021 and that it will remain a part of the final version.
- HeatRoadMap Europe, Heating and Cooling Energy Demands, https://heatroadmap.eu/heating-and-cooling-energy-demand-profiles/
- Mathiesen, Brian Vad, Henrik Lund et al. (2021), ”Varmeplan Danmark 2021 – En Klimaneutral Varmeforsyning”, Aalborg University, https://vbn.aau.dk/ws/portalfiles/portal/449742535/Varmeplan_Danmark_2021_Hovedrapport.pdf
- Definition: A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface.
- Surplus heat from industries and datacentres, PowerToX stations.
*This is a commercial profile.
© 2019. This work is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND.