District heating, which supplies two thirds of all Danish households with heat, is a corner stone in the Danish Energy system. Today, the supply of district heating is produced from a mix of technologies including combined heat and power plants, heat boilers, surplus heat from industry, solar-thermal panels, and electricity based technologies such as heat pumps and electric boilers. The sector emitted 4.9 million tonnes CO2e in 2019 excluding emissions from waste-to-energy plants.
District heating – future perspectives
With the Danish Climate agreement for energy and industry in June 2020, a political decision has been made to modernize the regulation of district heating in order to facilitate a transition towards a district heating sector in 2030 based completely on renewable energy. Key initiatives include:
- a subsidy scheme for district heating provides a subsidy to expand district heating grids into new areas. The objective of the scheme is to phase out individual oil and gas boilers.
- increased incentives to utilize surplus heat from industry for district heating by adjusting taxes and simplifying surplus heat regulation
- a reduction of taxes on electricity for heating has improved incentives for district heating companies to invest in electric driven heat pumps and electric boilers.
- a new economic regulation is planned to provide a greener and more efficient sector
- initiating analyses of how to phase out the remaining fossil fuel based production of district heating, primarily production related to peak and reserve load situations.
Taking into account the effects of the climate agreement, the sector is only expected to emit around 0.2 million tonnes CO2e in 2030 excluding emissions from waste-to-energy plants.
Natural gas and fermentation gas
Natural gas is the common term for gas, exploited from the subsoil. Natural gas consists mainly of methane. The Danish production of oil and natural gas started in 1972, and historically Denmark has had a net-export of energy including natural gas. By means of a distribution grid of about 18,000 kilometers, gas is distributed to approx. 400,000 households and businesses. Since 2004, the law on supply of natural gas has ensured sales of natural gas on market conditions, which i.a. means that the customers are free to choose their supplier.
Based on the actual knowledge about reserves, the Danish Energy Agency assumes that the supply of natural gas will be depleted by 2045-2050. The Energy Agreement of 2012 includes an agreement of granting better conditions for carbon neutral biomethane and to financial support the use of in the natural gas grid. In the future, the major part of biomethane produced in Denmark is expected to be injected into the natural gas grid. Due to the increasing production of biomethane, the Danish consumption of natural gas is decreasing. This tendency can be seen in relation to the ambition to electrify large parts of the Danish energy consumption. As a consequence of the electrification, the Danish gas consumption is expected to fall and to become carbon neutral over time.
In Denmark, most biomethane is produced by biomass - in the form of livestock manure and other organic waste - being pumped into a hermetically sealed reactor vessel. In 2020, the renewables share of the Danish gas consumption was approx. 20 per cent. The Danish Energy Agency expects the renewables share to increase to approx. 70 per cent in 2030 due to the ambitious political agreements in the last two years.
Read more about natural gas on Energinet's website.
Read more about biomethane on the website of the Danish Energy Agency.