District Heating Competence Network

In order to reach climate targets, network-based heat supply is considered to play an essential role, as it can potentially provide heat from renewable energy in a highly cost-effective way. However, in order to exploit this potential, far-reaching and partly innovative adaptations of the existing infrastructure are necessary. With the aim of supporting the implementation of these mostly cost-intensive projects, an exchange with competent contacts with experience on these measures is essential.

Experience with Energy Efficiency Networks, which have been very successful since 1987, shows that the framework of these networks strengthens the exchange, competence building and implementation of energy efficiency measures. Based on this structure, the District Heating Competence Network will strengthen the exchange on relevant challenges for district heating network operators and thus promote the implementation of innovative projects.

Procedure and Contents

Figure 1 shows the structure of the District Heating Competence Network. In addition to an initiation and conclusion phase, the main network activity takes place in the implementation phase. This three-year phase is subdivided into the following main parts: initial current-state analysis, target agreement, annual monitoring, energy technology hotline and regular workshops.


schematic representation of the course of a district heating competence network

Figure 1: Schematic representation of the course of a District Heating Competence Network


Initial status quo analysis with derivation of measures

In preparation for the status quo analysis, most important network infrastructure data is provided by the network operator to the FfE experts (e.g. customer heat consumption, network temperatures, heat generators). The FfE experts prepare the information in such a way, that it can be discussed at an on-site meeting with the network operator, so that both parties have a common understanding of the existing framework conditions. If possible, the heating central and other relevant facilities will be inspected during the meeting.

During the meeting, measures to increase the efficiency of the supply system, decrease the primary energy factor and provide heat from renewable energies are discussed.

Target agreement

It is typical for energy efficiency networks that the participants undertake concrete measures to increase efficiency for the implementation period (e.g. energy saving, reduction of CO2 emissions, use of renewable energy, reduction of the primary energy factor).

Whether the participants in the district heating competence network also want to set themselves such a practical goal, or a more strategic one, will be jointly determined in the network. A strategic goal could be that by the end of the network all network operators have developed a concrete transformation strategy for their heat network. The most important components for such a strategy are then defined as priority workshop topics.

Progress monitoring

Every year, information on measures implemented/progress made regarding the transformation strategy is sent to the staff of the FfE and evaluated. This determines the annual progress of each company and the network in relation to the defined goals.

Expert Hotline

Over the entire network duration, the energy technology experts will be available to network participants as contact persons for technical and organisational questions.

District Heating Network Workshops

Workshops are held four times a year on topics chosen by the network participants. Exemplary topics are shown in Figure 2. The workshops may also include individual network operators presenting efficiency projects or projects for integrating renewable energies that they have successfully implemented and thus encouraging others to follow. This presentation may also include an on-site visit of the projects presented.

Overview of possible central topics

Figure 2: Overview of possible central topics of the District Heating Competence Network workshops


Conclusion phase

At the end of the network period, a joint closing event will take place. At this event, the achieved savings of the network and implemented projects are presented. In addition, a brochure with the most relevant projects will be assembled and made available to the public. On the one hand, this serves to present the achievements of the network to the public. On the other hand, it also encourages other heat network operators to add questions and suggestions for improvement into the discussion.



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