District Heating Expansion Potential with Low-Temperature and End-Use Heat Savings

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District heating has the potential to play a key role in the transition towards a renewable energy system. However, the development towards reduced heat demands threatens the feasibility of district heating. Despite this challenge, opportunity exists in the form of fourth generation district heating, which operates at lower temperatures and enables better renewable integration. This article investigates this challenge by examining the district heating potential within three scenarios: The first is a reference scenario with current heat demand and temperatures, the second includes heat demand savings and the third includes reduced grid temperatures in addition to heat savings. To examine the scenarios, two models are developed. The first is a heat atlas model, in which heat demands are mapped on an address level. The second model assesses district heating expansion potentials based on economic costs. The models are applied using an example case of The Northern Region of Denmark. The article concludes that the district heating potential is highest in the reference scenario. When heat savings are introduced, district heating expansions, in most cases, will not be feasible. Introducing low-temperature district heating modestly increases the feasible expansion potential. This general conclusion is highly dependent on the specific system examined.
Original languageEnglish
Article number277
Volume 11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2018


  • geographical information systems
  • heat demand
  • district heating
  • low-temperature district heating
  • heat planning

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