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Market uptake of small modular renewable district heating and cooling grids for communities

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CoolHeating (Market uptake of small modular renewable district heating and cooling grids for communities)

Reporting period: 2017-07-01 to 2018-12-31

"The heating and cooling demand in Europe accounts for around half of the EU’s final energy consumption. Renewable energy policies often mainly focus on the electricity market, whereas policies for renewable heating and cooling are usually much weaker and less discussed in the overall energy debate. Therefore, it is important to support and promote renewable heating and cooling concepts, the core aim of the CoolHeating project.
Small modular district heating/cooling grids can be fed by different heat sources, including solar collectors, biomass systems and surplus heat sources (e.g. heat from industrial processes or biogas plants that is not yet used). Especially the combination of solar heating and biomass heating is a very promising strategy for smaller rural communities due to its contribution to security of supply, price stability, local economic development, local employment, etc. On the one hand, solar heating requires no fuel and on the other hand biomass heating can store energy and release it during winter when there is less solar heat available. Thereby, heat storage (buffer tanks for short-term storage and seasonal tanks/basins for long-term storage) needs to be integrated. With increasing shares of fluctuating renewable electricity production (PV, wind), the Power-to-Heat conversion through heat pumps can furthermore help to balance the power grid.
The overall objective of the CoolHeating project, funded by the EU’s Horizon2020 programme, was to support the implementation of ""small modular renewable heating and cooling grids"" for communities in South-Eastern Europe. This was achieved through knowledge transfer and mutual activities of partners in countries where renewable district heating and cooling examples exist (Austria, Denmark, Germany) and in countries which have less development (Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina). Core activities, besides techno-economical assessments, included measures to stimulate the interest of communities and citizens to set-up renewable district heating systems as well as the capacity building about financing and business models. The outcome was the initiation of new small renewable district heating and cooling grids in 5 target communities up to the investment stage. These lighthouse projects will have a long-term impact on the development of ""small modular renewable heating and cooling grids"" at the national levels in the target countries.

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- As a great success story of the project, CoolHeating initiated the construction of the 1st phase of the DH grid in Sabac, Serbia, which started in summer 2018. A letter of commitment for the 2nd phase of the grid construction in Sabac was signed at the final CoolHeating conference. Furthermore, the realisation potential of the concepts in the other communities is high. The partners expect that, based on communications with the responsible politicians and potential investors, small modular district heating/cooling grids will be realized in Karposh (Macedonia) and Visoko (Bosnia and Herzegovina) within the next three years and the ones in Ljutomer (Slovenia) and Ozalj (Croatia) within the next five years.
- Seven technical concepts were developed within the CoolHeating project for an annual use of total 202 GWh/a.
- 18 Best Practice (BP) examples from have been collected and were described regarding technical, economical and organisational parameters.
- 3 study tours on small renewable DHC projects in Austria, Denmark and Germany have been successfully organised. 76 participants attended the study tours, including mayors of the target municipalities, as well as representatives of the city assemblies and from the authorities.
- The non-technical framework conditions for the set-up of small renewable DHC grids in Austria, Denmark and Germany as well as in the target municipalities were investigated and described. The project provided successfully input on district heating to national policies.
- Guidelines for initiators of small DHC grids were elaborated. The guidelines have been translated to help local decision makers and ease the process of communication.
- A dialogue was established with national regulators, heating and cooling utilities, authorities and politicians of the target communities in five target countries. Several meetings were organised with these stakeholders in order to discuss about the implementation of small DHC grids.
- Information campaigns for the public (citizens) of the target communities were implemented to inform citizens about the project. Furthermore, surveys about the public perception on DHC grids and on heat consumption patterns were made and more than 2,300 responses received.
- To maximise the replication potential of the project, meetings were organised with representatives of so called follower communities in each target country in order to spread the project idea beyond the project.
- A handbook on small modular renewable DHC grids was elaborated and is available for free. The handbook includes technical and economic issues to start a DHC project. It is available in Bosnian, Croatian, Macedonian, Slovenian, Serbian, English and German.
- CoolHeating cooperated with the industry in the DHC sector. 116 company profiles where created from interested companies in the target countries and published on the project website.
- Capacity building training courses for involved actors were organised with in total 380 participants.
- A guideline on improved business models and financing schemes of small renewable DHC grids was elaborated, as well as an economic calculation tool for the target communities in order to support first economic calculations.
- Capacity building training courses on financing and business models were conducted in the target communities. In total, 242 investors, representatives from the financing sectors, project developers, and other stakeholders were trained.
- The project was disseminated by various means to the different stakeholder groups and to the large public. In total, more than 16,000 persons were informed about the project.
The expected potential impact of the CoolHeating project was to increase the share of renewable energy in the final energy consumption, to reduce the time taken to authorise the construction of renewable energy plants, achive substantial reductions in the transaction costs for project developers as well as for the permitting authorities, and to develop better policy, regulatory, market support and financing frameworks. CoolHeating addressed all three expected impacts, as the focus of the project was on target countries with low renewable energy penetration, high barriers, limited accessibility to technologies and expertise as well as with weak renewable energy policies. Besides these common problems, each of the countries has its individual baseline situation which was individually considered in the CoolHeating project.
The concepts developed in the CoolHeating project can be replicated in other locations which is supported by several partners in follow-up projects. For example, the Municipality of Ljutomer is evaluating the possibility to replicate Cven DH project also in the Stročja vas settlement. Another example is the replacement of the old coal fired boiler of the elementary school in village Majur (city of Sabac) by a new woodchip boiler with 500 kW capacity. The design and technical documentation of this measure is currently ongoing.
Participants of the CoolHeating study tour in Austria
CoolHeating partners in discussion with stakeholders
CoolHeating conference in Visoko, Bosnia and Herzigovina
Solar thermal field for district heating at the CoolHeating study tour in Denmark
Discussion with representatives of the EC at the final CoolHeating conference
Participants of the jount CoolHeating and BioVill conference
Participants of the CoolHeating study tour in Denmark
Signing of a letter of commitment for a CoolHeating project
Meeting with the mayor of Karposh in Macedonia
CoolHeating partners in discussion with stakeholders