DHC Market Outlook 2023

Market Outlook 2023 – District heating and cooling is instrumental to deliver an inclusive and ambitious heat transition.

Euroheat & Power released a comprehensive analysis on district heating and cooling (DHC) state of play in 30 European countries(1).

The study's results hint at the technology's true potential to accelerate the decarbonisation of the heating and cooling sector. First, it is a huge legacy infrastructure to build on. The survey identified nearly 190 000 kilometres of district heat pipes, a total of 17.000 heat networks with a total capacity of about 300GWth. The modernisation of existing district heating and cooling infrastructure represents a huge opportunity to decarbonise the heating supply of the 70 million citizens connected to DHC across Europe.

Second, the transition of the district heating and cooling sector in Europe is accelerating: the update on renewable and waste heat finds that in 2021, the energy supply from renewable and excess heat sources represented more than 40% of the total energy shares. The distribution between countries remains, however, disparate with Iceland boasting a renewable energy rate of almost 100% (thanks to geothermal energy), fast transitioning countries such as France, Austria, or Germany, and other countries which still rely on a greater extent on fossil-based cogeneration.

The icing on the cake is that central and Eastern European (CEE) countries are particularly well positioned to benefit from the new generation of heat networks, with significant renewable and clean heat resources and a well-developed infrastructure that only needs to be upgraded. Thus, heat networks can be considered the embodiment of the concept of just and fair transition, as it allows these countries to develop a heat transition in their image.

Aurélie Beauvais, Managing Director at Euroheat & Power: 

"The results of the 2023 market outlook show the tremendous potential of our sector to accelerate the European heat transition. We are very pleased to see that the share of renewable and clean energy continues to grow and will likely accelerate in the next years due to the ambitious Fitfor55’ targets. This is great news for the EU, as district heating and cooling is critical to leverage untapped renewable and clean heat sources and support the resilience and flexibility of the future energy system."

Eloi Piel, Market Intelligence Director at Euroheat & Power: 

“The DHC Outlook accurately describes the sector's contribution to the heat transition and illustrates the sector's growth potential to provide sustainable and affordable heat to cities and communities. The 2023 edition is an important step and a necessary contribution to the European and international debate, as the available data on district heating and cooling is often incomplete or outdated. This is our contribution to give the sector the visibility it deserves!”.


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