The overall market share of DH is 46% in residential, commercial and public buildings. In residential blocks of flats, the market share is as high as 88% whereas in detached houses the share is 8%. The market share of DH is very high although Finland is a rather sparsely populated country. In many cities the market share is over 90%. It is typical for DH business, that there are high regional differences in the market shares and future development.
On average, the temperature corrected sales of DH have increased annually by one to two percent. The trend of urbanization has been rapid in Finland and this has enabled the growth of DH business. It is estimated that in 2020’s the growth of DH sales will level out. New buildings are highly energy-efficient and at the same time, the renovation of existing buildings cuts down the heating demand.
The share of renewables and waste heat has significantly increased in the production of DH. The amount of renewable fuels (biomass etc.) has more than doubled during the last ten years and the amount of waste heat has more than trebled in the 2010’s. CO2-neutral energy sources have reached a share of 46%. The CHP-production is not calculated in this figure as recovered heat. However, the share of heat produced in combined heat and power plants has slightly declined due to the power system transformation in the Nordic markets. The rising share of wind power and low electricity prices have had an unfavourable effect on the economics of CHP.
Finland’s long-term goal is a carbon-neutral society. Secure energy supply, functioning energy markets, a high share of renewables and energy efficiency are all significant goals in the Finnish energy policy. Finland is actively looking for solutions to replace fossil fuels with carbon-neutral sources. This target is promoted with high taxation of fossil fuels and also with support for renewable electricity production. For instance, coal-fired electricity and heat generation will be banned as of May 2029.
The District Cooling sector has grown rapidly, during the last five years the number of customers and the amount of energy sold has doubled. This is due to rapidly growing new areas where DC has been made available. System integration between DH and DC is a remarkable advantage from a technological and economical point of view.
DC customers are mainly public and service buildings (for example, hospitals, new office buildings and shopping centres). Important customer groups are data centres and also residential buildings. During the past few years, residential buildings have been connected to DC. So far, the share is relatively small but a significant increase is expected in the future.