Delivering the Energy Transition: What Role for District Energy

  • Reports and Studies
  • 11 October 2016
  • by Ecofys
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The EU has committed itself to drastically reducing the European energy consumption in its climate goals. This requires major improvements in energy efficiency at overall energy system level and a shift towards low carbon energy sources. Heating and cooling represent the EU’s biggest energy demand and thus play a primary role in this debate. The EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling, as well as research conducted over the last years, have highlighted the role of District Heating and Cooling (DH&C) networks in achieving the EU’s energy transition until 2050.


Potentials can only be tapped and exploited by taking a holistic view of the energy system. The fundamental question throughout is how the corresponding infrastructures can be developed in a smart way to achieve an cost-efficient, sustainable, and climate-friendly energy system.


This strategy paper addresses the following main questions investigating the crucial role that DH&C networks would play in the energy transition towards 2050;

  • How does DH&C develop while energy demands in buildings are decreasing?
  • What is the role of DH&C in bringing renewable energy sources (RES) to high density city areas and villages?
  • How would DH&C solutions support the balance of demand and supply?
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