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A faster path to net zero is right at our feet

By District Energy posted 09-27-2023 10:10

Some have said it’s “the third wave of urban energy.” Others say this novel energy innovation is how many visionary cities and countries have so rapidly decarbonized heating and cooling systems to meet more stringent efficiency, renewable energy, and CO2 targets.
By Rob Thornton, President & CEO of International District Energy Association
Surprisingly, what Fernando Carou, manager of renewable energy and net zero development for the city of Toronto, calls the “third wave” of urban energy and the United Nations (UN) heralds as “visionary” isn’t new at all.
It’s district energy.
District energy, which the UN says can “connect renewables, waste heat, thermal storage, power grids, thermal grids, and heat pumps—delivering up to 50% less primary energy consumption for heating and cooling,” has been hiding in plain “site” for more than 100 years.
In large and small sites around the world, district energy is so embedded and accepted that it has been largely overlooked. Given its massive potential to accelerate the global pursuit of net zero goals, however, it’s time for district energy to move back into the spotlight.