16 Oct 2019, 12:44
Freja Eriksen

German efficiency experts point to Danish district heating model as inspiration

Clean Energy Wire

German energy efficiency experts point to the Danish model of district heating as an important inspiration for how to reach the country's targets in energy efficiency. Denmark is ahead of Germany by about 37 percent in the indicator of energy productivity, which measures the extent to which a country's energy use is decoupled from its economic growth. A factor that has brought Denmark farther ahead in efficiency could be their strategy of coupling heat and electricity together from the beginning, said Christian Noll, managing director of the German industry initiative for energy efficiency (DENEFF) at a Danish-German dialogue meeting. The Danish use of district heating, where renewables can be fed in, for example, is "far beyond what is happening in Germany," Noll told the Clean Energy Wire. Germany may not be able to adopt the same structures as its Scandinavian neighbour, but following the Danish example of using excess heat from industrial sites or fluctuations in renewables could play a "major role" in the German energy transition, Noll said. The German government's new climate action programme is, however, "not courageous enough to bring us to leapfrogging" to the Danish level and higher, said Noll, who recommended a CO2 price in the buildings and transport sectors of far above 10 euros per tonne and binding targets on energy efficiency through legislation.

Increasing energy efficiency is key to Germany reaching its climate targets in all scenarios, stressed Ulrich Benterbusch, head of a subdivision of the German economy and energy ministry (BMWi) at the meeting. Without becoming more efficient, the country's energy transition would not succeed, he said. Germany is, however, set to miss its 2020 energy efficiency target of reducing its primary energy consumption by 20 percent compared to 2008. By 2050, the country has set itself the task of cutting its primary energy use in half.

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