How district heating and cooling can support the energy transition
A call for Europe to accelerate its transition to climate neutrality has put the spotlight on the heating and cooling sector, which represents 50% of the total final energy consumption in the EU.
In her September 2020 speech on the State of the Union, EU President Ursula von der Leyen stressed the need to set more ambitious interim targets in order to respect the European Green Deal, a roadmap to reduce Europe’s net emissions of greenhouse gases to zero by 2050. In so doing, Europe will become the first climate-neutral continent.
The President said that, by 2030, emissions should be 55% lower than 1990 levels – a goal that is significantly more ambitious than the 40% figure originally fixed. Given that just 13% of Europe’s heating and cooling generation comes from renewables, the sector has a key role to play in the green transition.
In order to meet the new target, the EU will need to increase the overall share of renewable energy to the level of 38% to 40% of gross final consumption. In this context, heating and cooling must achieve a share of around 40% of renewable energies by 2030, and the 4th Generation District Heating and Cooling (4GDHC) will play a crucial role in this process.
Large-scale use of 4GDHC should start now, and it will have a significant impact. As a heat infrastructure based on loss- and temperature-optimised heating networks, 4GDHC enables the use of multiple renewable energy sources while also allowing heat to be stored on a massive scale. In this way, it delivers significant gains in energy efficiency while reducing CO2 emissions.
Why efficiency is essential
The future of district heating and cooling lies not only in transitioning to renewables, but also in securing greater efficiency gains. Most DHC networks could benefit from lower flow temperatures, reductions in heat/cooling losses, and a shift towards demand-based production. All these measures can contribute to reducing waste and creating a more sustainable model.
In addition, consumers have a vital part to play in shaping a carbon-neutral society. The EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) positions consumers as drivers of the green transition. From 25 October 2020, all new heating/cooling meter installations should be remotely readable, and consumption information must be made available to end users on a quarterly basis. The member states are currently working on implementing the EED guidelines into national law.
So, how can DHC companies take charge of their networks and help contribute to a more efficient and sustainable future? By precisely identifying where they can uncover new efficiencies in their network. And by empowering their customers to be more sustainable. At Diehl Metering, that’s exactly what we provide with our digital smart metering solutions.
The power of information
The efficiency of DHC relies on a faultless technical system and the responsible behaviour of consumers. The key to achieving both of these goals is information. Diehl Metering’s communicating energy meters, such as the SHARKY series and sensors, provide you with an extensive range of data, gathered automatically via a fixed network without having to enter the consumer's home. In these times of social distancing, this is a considerable advantage.
The wealth of data is then analysed using our powerful IZAR software, offering insights so you can constantly optimise your distribution network and better understand your consumers and buildings. You’ll be able to eliminate high return temperatures, and reduce heat losses and leaks. The net result is greater energy efficiency in both your distribution network and your heating and cooling production.
What’s more, Diehl Metering’s IZAR@HOME smartphone app allows consumers to follow, compare and improve their consumption habits. By offering your customers transparency about their consumption data, you will empower them to change their behaviour, reduce waste, and contribute to a more sustainable future.
At Diehl Metering, we support utilities and industrial customers worldwide in reaching the full potential of intelligent heating and cooling systems. Because we firmly believe the green transition depends on the integration of renewable energy sources and on the efficient operation of district heating and cooling systems.