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Energy plant, Aarhus Bay

Photo credit: Aarhus Council

“Most of the support for decentralised natural gas-based [combined heat and power] CHP plants expires by the end of 2018. [Under] the EU's new state aid rules, this aid cannot be extended, so when the aid lapses, it can have significant consequences for the price of power and heat from CHP for district heating,” he explains. As state aid for natural gas throughout the European Union is dismantled, heating prices may increase in Denmark. “Relating to the expiry of the current subsidies, a coalition in parliament has decided to establish two new decentralised CHP subsidy schemes: a subsidy scheme for electricallypowered heat pumps for small CHP plants outside the EU carbon trading scheme, and a counselling scheme for the plants where the economic effect of the expiring subsidies would hit hardest,” Henriksen says. He reports that the Danish Energy Association is very satisfied with these initiatives that support the construction of heat pumps in district heating systems, adding that lowering taxes on electricity could further incentivise the market to adopt sustainable practices. “The tax is currently higher on electricity for heating per energy content than on fossil fuels such as coal, oil and

Winter 2017

Accelerate Europe

gas,” Henriksen says. “Heat pumps are more effective than boilers using fossil fuels, but the current taxation regime has not been favouring heat pumps in the Danish system.” “But recently a political agreement has been struck, which in the year from 2019 and onwards, step by step, will reduce the tax on electricity used in heat pumps significantly,” Henriksen adds. “This tax reduction gives more equal conditions for heat pumps, as electricity after the reduction will have approximately the same level as natural gas per energy unit used for district heating. Due to the high efficiency of heat pumps and this fair taxation, we could see a real breakthrough for heat pumps in Denmark,” he argues. The European Union also runs several investment schemes to support the transition away from fossil fuels towards sustainable heating. A CHP plant in Aarhus, Denmark, has tapped into EU coffers to fund its use of seawater from the bay to provide inhabitants and companies in the east of the city with district heating. The ammonia heat pump will kick in when the price of electricity is low. It will be able to produce 4.0 MWh heat for each MWh of electricity used.

At times of high electricity prices when the heat pump does not operate, the extra heat will be provided by waste incineration. The new plant has already replaced two oil-fired district heating stations that, during the coldest days of the year, provide east Aarhus with heat. The EU gave €403,000 towards the development of the ocean heat pump. The project should be completed in 2018. “The new power plant in Aarhus East will contribute with more than just district heating,” Kristian Würtz, a member of Aarhus municipality’s Department for Technology and Environmental Issues, told the State of Green. “The building will be an attraction for local citizens, but it will also be a display window for technical experts from the world’s major cities who are looking for possibilities within the green transition.” Subsidies and know-how are helping to fuel the transition to natural refrigerant heat pumps in district heating networks in Denmark. Other European countries can surely learn lessons from the Danish market on how to implement sustainable heating plans. CM

Accelerate Europe #9 Winter 2017  

HONOURING THE TRAILBLAZERS The past twelve months have been full of innovation in the HVAC&R sector. The winter 2017 edition of Accelerate...

Accelerate Europe #9 Winter 2017  

HONOURING THE TRAILBLAZERS The past twelve months have been full of innovation in the HVAC&R sector. The winter 2017 edition of Accelerate...