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Improving the performance of district heating systems in Central and East Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - KeepWarm (Improving the performance of district heating systems in Central and East Europe)

Reporting period: 2018-04-01 to 2019-06-30

The largest energy consumers in the European Union are inefficient District Heating Systems (DHS). At the same time, most of them in Central and Eastern Europe still heavily rely on fossil energy sources, e.g. oil, gas or coal, causing high pollution rates. Experiences, knowledge and access to improving the performance of the DHS and to financing the retrofit or modernization are often limited. Nonetheless, for reaching the SDGs, N°7 Affordable and Clean Energy, and N°13 Climate Action, the improvement of the performance of the DHS is crucial – they offer a huge untapped potential for renewable energy and energy efficiency development.
KeepWarm enables public authorities and agencies to reach their climate and energy targets by facilitating DHS retrofits to be fully aligned with regulations and integrated into planning processes. Support to DHS improvements represents a cost-effective, low-risk investment for financial institutions and other investors. A renovated DHS can supply comfortable and convenient heating services which match consumers’ needs in a transparent and affordable manner.

The KeepWarm project aims to accelerate cost-effective investments in the modernisation of DHS and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It promotes sustainable pathways to retrofit existing DHS by upgrading their operational efficiency and switching to local renewable excess energy sources. Project partners have complementary expertise to facilitate the exchange of good practice, so that key stakeholders can boost the competitiveness of local economies and further reduce emissions.

The project’s multi-stage approach is tailored in a way that any DHS can effectively modernise and decarbonise, thereby accelerating feasible and replicable transitions Europe-wide.
KeepWarm prioritises a step-by-step approach:
(1) Retrofit and optimise DHS networks to increase the grid efficiency
(2) Accelerate the use of nearby renewable energy in heat production
(3) Integrate sustainable excess heat from industrial processes and commercial facilities
(4) Use acceptable waste-to-energy solutions in line with waste-reduction strategies
(5) Deploy smart heat distribution and control systems for a more effective management

The project partners strive to ensure that best practices for environmental-friendlier heating and cooling will be taken up across Europe, replicating KeepWarm’s approach in other countries and regions, even beyond the end of the project. Findings of project reviews and pilot will help to generate concrete proposals and recommendations for the upgrade of energy and climate related plans.
Training needs assessment: 52 DHS operators participated in the training needs assessment among the KeepWarm countries to find out each countries’ training needs. A tailor-made capacity approach was developed for each country. Lectures, workshops and field trips were selected as the most appropri-ate training form.

Training material: The baseline material provided by the task leaders of each capacity development topic (technical, RES including waste and excess heat, organizational, financial and managerial) and other used training material are currently organized in a way to ensure sustainability of the training process and open it up for public. Part of it is already available on the KeepWarm website.

Capacity development and trainings: The trainings have been conducted 09.2018 – 06.2019 (813 participants/7 countries). DHS operators have increased their capacity on the identified training needs.

Report on the trainings: KeepWarm prepares a report about the trainings, including lessons learned to ensure sustainability and replicating KeepWarm’s approach.

Business plans: The first step of developing business plans and identifying the most suitable financial model for DHS modernization was covered through the financial training in each country.

Technical and economic feasibility studies: Included in the feasibility studies are the current state of DHS, the renewable energy source potential in the countries to switch from fossil to RES and the analysis of the DHS market, including current and potential consumers. Since April 2019 the results have been evaluated and will be finished in September 2019.

Pilot cases: Involved pilot cases are visible on the project website. First steps towards a selection of retrofitted pilot systems have been made.

Modernization and retrofitting of DHS: The regulatory framework in the partner countries was reviewed and the needs, key barriers and opportunities for retrofitting as well as the key stakeholders on a local, regional and national level to enhance the process were identified. The report on the DH legal framework and retrofit opportunities review in pilot countries will be published and serves as the basis for development DHS retrofit action plans.

Energy and climate plans: UNIZAG FSB and REGEA included the renovation of DHS into the new SECAP for Zagreb. KSSENA is involved in the development of the new LEK for the Municipality of Celje, JSI is being the coordinator of the Slovene expert consortium developing the NECP. LWK, the Austrian partner, is involved on national and regional level. TSCR provided its input for energy plans to the Czech government. ZREA is working on revising SEAP of Jelgava and elaborating a new SECAP for Jelgava and the same for Jekabpils city.

Dissemination: Direct outreach has been initiated via the website and Twitter @KeepWarm_EU. Additional people were reached through project partners’ dissemination activities, e.g. articles, press releases, training promotion with word-of-mouth recommendations, attend-ing national and international conferences and connecting KeepWarm to other current projects (DHC+, COOL DH, Upgrade DH, Euro Heat & Power, Plan-Heat, ReUseHeat, RELaTED, CITIES and THERMOS) as well as to key past projects (Heat Roadmap Europe, FROnT and Celsius).
With the full implementation, seven major impacts are expected which will lead to reduce energy losses, the dependency on fossil fuels and the green-house gas emission and to increase the use of RES and the awareness of modernization and retrofitting of DHS:
1. Primary energy savings triggered by the proposed action
2. Increased share of renewable sources of heat
3. Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
4. Scale of the replicability potential of the proposed solutions
5. Integration of DHS retrofitting in regional or national action plans
6. Preparing the ground for investment
7. Building capacities and skills

At the end of the project, business models and action plans for retrofitting and at least 23 business plans for the modernization of DHS with at least 15 investments will have been developed. DHS network retrofitting will have been taken into consideration in at least ten local energy plans and seven regional or national strategies/plans. This will trigger further interest across Europe and finally the KeepWarm approach will be replicated across Europe and taken into consideration in further EU policies and initiatives. For replicating, all the training material will be available on the KeepWarm website. Furthermore, the KeepWarm consortium will prepare and initiate at least ten DHS retrofitting schemes/models. Out of these, a set of roadmap guidelines for replication will be prepared. Moreover, further secondary DHS are benefitting from KeepWarm by participating in the KeepWarm twinning events.
DHS Fortum Klaipeda, waste preparation for heating, Lithuania
Training in Bad Mitterndorf, DHS Bad Mitterndorf
Logos of involved partners in the KeepWarm project
Poliurs, Ltd. production plant of industrially isolated pipes, Latvia
Jela Star company, Serbia
Training and guided tour DHS Oberdrauburg
DHS Liepajas Energija, biomass cogeneration station, Latvia
Overview of involved target countries
DHS Salaspils Siltums, construction of Solar collectors’ field for DH, Latvia
DHS Salaspils Siltums, solar PV`s for production of electricity for self-consumption, Latvia
Training and excursion Krumpendorf, 265 kW thermal power heat pump
KeepWarm Logo