Finland has a long tradition of district heating and combined heat and power (CHP). The district heating business is mature and offers a competitive heating solution in the liberalised heat market. Policy-makers have favoured renewable energy sources in the last ten years. Accordingly, the usage of renewables in district heating production, namely forest chips, has increased steadily. The share of wood and other CO2-neutral energy sources covers one third of district heating production while 10 years ago it was approximately 10%.
The graph below demonstrates that by 2015, 39% of the heat demand was delivered through district heating, which comprised 89% from direct renewables and recycled heat. In public and commercial buildings this rises up to 70%. These average market share figures reveal that, for a sparsely populated country such as Finland, these figures can reach over 90% in many cities.
A large majority (73%) of district heating is met through CHP, which also generates a third of Finland’s electricity. On average, the temperature corrected sales of district heating have increased steadily by 1-2% per year and existing district heating potentials are well exploited.
Finland represents one of Europe’s most rapidly increasing district cooling sectors. In the past five years, the annual growth of the district cooling business has been approximately at 10% in terms of installed capacity, cooling sales and total length of networks. District cooling is expected to further develop in the coming years. According to a business as usual forecast, the cooling demand would increase 2% annually until 2030.