The DHC+ Technology Platform has initiated a thinking process on the future of the energy system and the role of digitalisation for different parts of the district heating and cooling system. Why? The heating and cooling sector, which makes up more than 50% of the whole energy demand, is currently under transformation because of digital technologies.
Digital technologies are believed to make the whole energy system smarter, more efficient, and reliable and to boost the integration of more renewables into the system. In the future, digital energy systems will enable district energy systems to fully optimise their plant and network operation while empowering the end consumer. We will be able to use the connected infrastructures as efficiently as possible, time their production according to forecast demand and, enhance the usage of renewables. Yet how will we get to this future scenario?
IoT, automation, AI, and big data hold big promises. Nonetheless, they also come with pitfalls and raise new challenges, such as security and privacy as well as questions about data ownership. Additionally, new business models and policy interventions require market actors to adapt. The pace of change is fast and it is challenging both industry players and regulators.
The Digital Roadmap for District Heating & Cooling offers insights on how digitalisation impacts the industry, showcases the current state of the art, identifies barriers and presents objectives, targets and recommendations for each of the topics: Production Level, Distribution Level, Building Level, Consumption Level, Design & Planning and Sector Coupling & Integration of Multiple Sources. The idea for this Roadmap emerged from a series of discussions with DHC+ members and was driven by the H2020 research and innovation project STORM.