It Is Time To Act Now if Denmark is to be a Leader in Geothermal District Heating

By District Energy posted 09-01-2020 09:22


Think GeoEnergy


In an article published today in Danish publication Altinget, “A.P. Møller og Danfoss: Geotermi er en gylden mulighed, vi lige nu risikerer at gå glip af”, Lars Tveen, President, Danfoss Heating and Samir Abboud, CEO, Geothermal in A.P. Møller Holding make a passionate case for geothermal energy development in  Denmark. The following is a translation.

Denmark boasts the world’s most developed district heating network.  And the Danish subsurface holds very promising geothermal potential in large parts of the country, and under several of the biggest cities. This combination of large scale geothermal developments and district heating is a great cocktail, which can contribute significantly to the green energy transition in Denmark, primarily by replacing the imported biomass. And the impact also extends to job creation and export as well as driving forward the green energy transition outside the borders of Denmark. However, the political framework in Denmark needs to fall into place now, otherwise we will miss this opportunity.

Before the summer recess, a large majority of the political parties in the Danish parliament agreed on a climate action plan with many good initiatives. However, one important point was postponed by the political negotiators until later this year, namely the regulation of the district heating sector, and the future economic framework conditions for geothermal heating. Now, it’s urgent that political action is taken. Because large-scale geothermal development entails massive investments. And the timing of those investments is driven by the district heating companies’ schedules for decommissioning of their large old heat production plants. This is the current  situation in the city of Aalborg, where the large coal-fired power plant is ready to be phased out; in the city of Aarhus, where Studstrupværket is nearing its decommissioning date; and finally in Copenhagen, where  Avedøre Blok 2 is due for replacement in near future.

Large heat pumps are on the rise in the Danish heating sector. However, they need to be fed with heat sources with a very high capacity and high stable temperatures, if they are to meet the heat demand in an efficient way. And this is where geothermal comes into the picture.

However, if the economic framework is not  in place,  the district heating companies will be forced to invest in other less sustainable and less energy efficient solutions – and thus the window for green investment opportunities in geothermal will close, and remain closed for many years to come.

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