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Energy transition – not just electricity

Denmark partly bans fossil-fired heaters

The Danes continue to lead the way in the switch to a 100 percent renewable supply of energy. This year, they have banned the installation of heating systems fired with oil or natural gas in new buildings, and the clock is ticking for some existing systems as well.

In February, Austrian blogger Cornelia Daniel posted some news about Denmark and wondered why the German-language press had not yet reported on it. Roughly 6 weeks before her post, a ban on the installation of heating systems fired with oil or natural gas took effect in Denmark for new buildings. What's more, starting in 2016 the installation of oil-fired heating systems will also be banned in existing buildings if there is a local supply of district heat or natural gas.

As she points out, all of this information has been available since March 2012 – and it's even in English (PDF). As I pointed out last fall, Denmark has much more ambitious goals than Germany (100 percent renewables in the old energy sectors by 2050, compared to a mere 80 percent in Germany – and that only for electricity), but we continue to focus on the Denmark's big neighbor as though Germany were attempting to do something radical. In reality, the Germans have their work cut out for them just catching up with the Danes.

In Denmark, the long-term goal for the heat sector includes the use of excess renewable power to generate heat from electrical systems (heat can be stored more easily than power) along with power-to-gas (P2G) and cogeneration fired with biomass. (Craig Morris)

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5 Comments on "Denmark partly bans fossil-fired heaters "

  1. heinbloed - 20.04.2013, 22:51 Uhr (Report comment)

    The news (banning of gas and aoil central heating) were published in the plumber's forums in September 2012:
    after being spotted at Franz Alt's home page

  2. heinbloed - 19.04.2013, 00:06 Uhr (Report comment)

    A very interesting part of the Danish district heating systems is the renewable energy suply they are using. Surplus electricity from wind power is now used to replace gas or bio-fuel. A logic step which isn't thought of in many countries where district heating is available. Flensburg in Northern Germany is now employing this method as well. Well, they have a Danish political party there, active in comunal and regional politics :)
    Here a link to Danish district heating systems employing solar thermal energy, click onto the map and you can get the actual data as well as the past performance:
    In case there isn't a local conection to the nearest thermal grid provided - mobile thermal storage units could be used as well:

  3. Cornelia Daniel - 19.04.2013, 19:01 Uhr (Report comment)

    Wow! Thank's so much for bringing the news out into the english speaking energy world. I just visited a Combined Heat and Power plant in Scottland and seems like the Energiewende for Heat can only go through heat networks and lots of countries are realizing this although it will also take more then 30 years to get to the point where denmark is today.

  4. Craig Morris - 19.04.2013, 17:06 Uhr (Report comment)

    David, thanks -- and do keep us informed about Denmark!

  5. David - 19.04.2013, 17:00 Uhr (Report comment)

    I didn't know there was this interest in the details of what is going on in Denmark. As a Dane who enjoys reading this blog and following the 'Energiewende' I might write a comment or two when it helps to put things in the proper context.
    For this story it is worth to understand that Denmark since the oil crisis years of the late 70s has spent a lot on building out district heating as well a gas network. The latter because of all the cheap gas we had found in the North Sea. This gas is running out in the next ten years or so after which we will be importing Russian gas just like in Germany. To preempt this district heating is expanding at an accelerated pace as part of the "2020 energy agreement" that has broad support across the political spectrum. This isn't law by any means but Danish politics most of the time works with compromise agreements across the spectrum that cannot be changed unless all parties agree to the changes or until after an election (where it is an issue). So while the current left wing government is almost certain not to be reelected no later than 2015 the "2020 energy agreement" will be the policy of the next right wing government as well. This is not to say that we would have the same high level of commitments if the right were in control, but it may help outsiders understand that it will be carried out regardless of next election.
    The goals have been agreed to but far from all the details have been decided yet. A number of analysis are to be completed in 2013 and 2014 where after the parties will negotiate again. So the devil is in the details.
    In the context of this ban there will need to be a policy in place to choose between gas and district heating. I think we will be dropping gas because of the supply issues I mentioned. For those outside the district heating networks there's also a viable alternative in heat pumps that can be run off electricity from renewable sources.
    From the internet: In 1963 15% of residential households were connected to district heating. In 1978 30% and today more than 60%.

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