District Energy in Germany

  • Country Profiles
  • 01 May 2017


The market share of district heating of Germany’s residential heat sector is 13.8%. While the market share leaves room for further growth, Germany, together with Poland, still remains the biggest market for district heating and cooling in the EU in terms of absolute figures.


Fossil fuels still dominate the district heating market in Germany. The share of coal on the district heating market was 47% in 2015. Since 2010, the share of natural gas has slightly decreased and contributed to the energy mix by 39% in 2015. However, the share of renewable energy is on continuous rise, reaching a share of 13.3% in heat and cold consumption in 2015.


In year 2014, electricity generated in CHP plants had a share of 17.4% in the total net electricity production in Germany. Heat generation in CHP plants accounts for a significant amount of the overall generation (83% in 2015). Heat from waste-to-energy CHP plants expanded from 3.4% in 2003, reaching the share of 8.1% in 2015.


As displayed in the graph, half of residential heat demand in Germany is met through natural gas, whereas district heating supplies just above one tenth of the market. Natural gas has been constantly gaining market share and also holds a dominant market position in new buildings. The market share of district heating has developed at a slow pace in the existing building stock but accelerated in new buildings, especially when considering multi-family dwellings thanks to the legislative framework.



Regarding district cooling, the EU-project RESCUE, supported by the European Commission, was aiming at improving market conditions in Germany and other European countries. In Germany, first effects of the efforts can be observed. The installed district cooling capacity increased significantly between the years 2011 and 2015 with a 55% rise. In the same period, the sales of cooling faced a rise by 60.5% and there are 4.6 km of new district cooling pipes.



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Useful links:

Energy Efficiency Association for Heating, Cooling and CHP (AGFW)

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