19 Jun 2023

ENGIE: a global leader in low-carbon energy and services.

ENGIE, leader in heating and cooling networks, delivers reliable flexible and efficient district heating and cooling solutions based on renewables, heat or cold sinks, to help cities and territories to reach their Net Zero Carbon goals - Sponsored article by ENGIE.

ENGIE is a French Group, a global reference in low-carbon energy and services. Our purpose (“raison d’être”) is to act to accelerate the transition towards a carbon-neutral economy, through low-energy solutions that are more respectful of the environment. This purpose brings together the company, its employees, customers and shareholders, and reconciles economic performance and positive impact on people and the planet. ENGIE’s action is assessed in its entirety and over time.

ENGIE committed to be Net Zero Carbon by 2045 and supporting its clients in their decarbonisation journey.

ENGIE focuses on innovation, through its Research and Innovation division comprising of more than 500 employees. Urban heating and cooling networks are strategic to the group: there is a special focus on their decarbonisation, water use intensity reduction and cooling through geothermal and sea water/river water.

ENGIE is ranked #1 in urban cooling networks and #3 in urban heating worldwide, with a global installed capacity of 20 GW of district heating and cooling networks (heating representing 14+ GW), over 300 districts.

At Engie we are totally convinced that this old-decade technology, which is resurfacing, is a solution to address the unprecedented energy crisis the world is experiencing which translates into a heating crisis. District heating and cooling systems rely on very diversified energy mix which help to fight against commodity volatility prices and gas dependency. From 1st to 4th generation, those assets proved their capacity to evolve over the years by improving their energy efficiency while reducing the supply temperature, embarking more innovative technologies to produce energy, and relying on a wide range of renewables such as solar, geothermal or biomass, and waste heat resources to shift from fossil fuels to renewables.

District heating and Colling systems are essential infrastructures and bring lots of benefits:

  • Energy efficiency improvements,
  • Digital solutions to model, optimize on a dynamic basis those very complex systems and define the best dispatch strategy,
  • Renewable share since those assets can mobilize and carry substantial amounts of renewable energy as opposed to stand alone solutions.
Heating networks: an important lever in the energy transition

Unlike individual systems, district networks use renewable energy on a massive scale, which enables them to provide citizens with green and affordable energy. In France, the share of renewable and recovered energies in the energy mix of heating networks has increased from 30% to more than 60% in 10 years.

ENGIE has also set itself the target of increasing the share of renewable energies in the energy mix that supplies them. Targets: 75% in 2030 and 100% in 2050.

Cooling networks: a solution for resilience to face global warming.

As global warming continues, air conditioning, which was originally considered as a comfort energy, has become essential to making our cities resilient. In the years to come, the demand for air conditioning is expected to triple by 2050. As a world leader in cooling district systems, ENGIE is already one step ahead of this change, offering its customers optimal, reliable and sustainable solutions which ca achieve performances such as +50% improvements in energy efficiency, 50% decrease in refrigerant fluid leakages and 50% cut down in greenhouse gas emissions compared to standalone systems.

Customer benefits




A reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 50%

A reduction in energy consumption up to 50%



Availability and security of supply

Cost control & energy independance


District heating and Cooling solutions are local, flexible and green

There is no one fits all solution, ENGIE adapts its solutions to specific local conditions and accordingly supplies its heating and cooling relying on a merit order as follows:

Reuse rather than Use when possible:

#1 - Fatal heat recovery: Lots of industrial processes or equipment generate heat while running. Excess heat can be reused to supply a factory with heat and warm water or reused by neighboring homes and industries through a district energy system. Using this energy that would otherwise go to waste can give a productivity boost to the economy and lower energy prices for consumers.

Utilizing excess heat can replace significant amounts of fossil fuels that are otherwise needed to produce heat. Used this way, excess heat can ease the transition to a green energy system

  • Data Centers: 80% of the electricity supplied to data centers is released in the form of heat, meaning that they are excellent candidates to supply a heating network.
  • Wastewater: the wastewater released by water treatment stations or factories can be used to supply heat to the heating networks nearby to provide heat to the city neighborhoods.
  • Waste-to-energy: recovering the heat released by waste incinerators to produce heat is a major contributor to the energy mix of district heating systems.

Local renewable energies to be privileged:

#2 - Aqua thermal: natural water sources such as lakes, rivers and sea can be used, under highly regulated conditions, for free cooling and, coupled with Heat pumps, for heating production.

#3 - Geothermal: solutions either deep or shallow that recover heat contained in aquifers underneath our cities.

#4 - Thermal solar: thermal solar systems convert solar radiation into heat that can be used to feed a heating network.

Transportable Renewable energies:

#5 - Biomass: all the degradable organic matter that can be transformed into energy. These solutions allow for the use of local resources, such as wood obtained from removals, as well as waste, including vegetable oils, water treatment sludge, etc.

#6 - Biomethane: biomethane can be produced from local matter sourced from agriculture, industry or local authorities, and then used as a final fuel.

Finally, more traditional energy source, when the above solutions are not applicable yet:

In certain parts of the world, natural gas may be the transitioning energy that can be used locally to run a heating network and being captured or offsetting to limit the impact on the environment as much as possible.

As the world becomes increasingly aware of the crucial need to reduce carbon emissions and shift towards more sustainable energy sources, it is now more important than ever to have a trusted partner.

At ENGIE, we are proud to lead the way in heating and cooling networks. We have a record of delivering reliable and efficient solutions to communities and businesses around the world.