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Heat planning for fossil-fuel-free district heating areas with extensive end-use heat savings: A case study of the Copenhagen district heating area in Denmark

Harrestrup, M., Svendsen, S.
Energy Policy 2014 v.68 pp. 294-305
buildings, case studies, electricity, energy conservation, energy efficiency, fossil fuels, heat, heating systems, planning, renewable energy sources, Denmark
The Danish government plans to make the Danish energy system to be completely free of fossil fuels by 2050 and that by 2035 the energy supply for buildings and electricity should be entirely based on renewable energy sources. To become independent from fossil fuels, it is necessary to reduce the energy consumption of the existing building stock, increase energy efficiency, and convert the present heat supply from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. District heating is a sustainable way of providing space heating and domestic hot water to buildings in densely populated areas. This paper is a theoretical investigation of the district heating system in the Copenhagen area, in which heat conservation is related to the heat supply in buildings from an economic perspective. Supplying the existing building stock from low-temperature energy resources, e.g. geothermal heat, might lead to oversized heating plants that are too expensive to build in comparison with the potential energy savings in buildings. Long-term strategies for the existing building stock must ensure that costs are minimized and that investments in energy savings and new heating capacity are optimized and carried out at the right time.