District Energy in Denmark

  • Country Profiles
  • 15 November 2019


Production of district heating (measured by total fuel/energy input) has grown app. 5,6 % in the period 2005 to 2017, but behind that figure lies a major shift in energy input.


The use of renewable energy in DH has grown from a share of 34,4 % in 2005 to 58,9 % in 2017. Adding the 1 % share of electricity, which is only used in district heating when electricity market prices are very low or negative due to surplus production of RES-electricity, then the total renewable share of energy input to district heating amounts to 60,1 %.


The change is particularly due to increased use of wood as fuel in both CHP as well as boiler units. Use of solar as well as geothermal heat has also grown considerably, but still only contributes 2,1 % to total energy inputs.


In the same period shares of fossil fuels in district heating has consequently been reduced not only overall but for all fuel categories except non-biodegradable waste, which is unchanged.



Individual heating with natural gas is the second most widespread solution, with 15,4 % of the market, which is a small decline since 2015 (15.7 %). Individual oil is still the third most common heat supply, but it is in continuous decline. A full third of oil installations have disappeared since 2010. Heat pumps have grown to 2,7 % of households, but the number of new installations is still roughly only a third of new DH installations.


Direct electrical heating is decreasing and today covers 4,5 % of households, down from 5 % in 2010. Central heating without oil or gas is mainly small biomass boilers outside areas covered with distributed solutions (district heating and gas), and they cover 3 % of the market.


There is a general consensus on the green transition in Denmark. In a broad political agreement, all nine parties in the Danish parliament (Folketinget) in June 2018 agreed that Denmark will work towards net zero emissions, in accordance with the Paris Agreement, and advocate for the adoption of a target of net-zero emissions in the EU and Denmark by 2050 at the latest.


The share of CHP in thermal district heating has, after a decrease from a peak in the period 1997 to 2006 with a share of more than 80 % of district heating production, stabilized around 70 %. As electricity prices in the market have been low, district heating has increasingly had to resort to other heat sources such as boiler only production on biomass or gas.


An obvious barrier for further expansion is market saturation in some district-heated areas. In Copenhagen municipality 98 % of all existing buildings are connected to district heating, so further growth can mostly come with city expansions into former industrial- or harbour areas. In contrast, from being almost non-existent a decade ago, district cooling has enjoyed considerable growth (but from a low base) since 2012. Total capacity amounts to 21,8 MW, total network is 5 km and sales of 4.147 MW are around four times the sales in 2012. The 58 DC customers are mainly in the tertiary sector.


If you would like to learn more, you can purchase the latest Country by Country Survey.


? The¬†Danish districts of¬†Odense¬†(View¬†Here) and Hoje-Taastrup¬†(View¬†Here)¬†are¬†featured as ‘100% Renewable Energy District’¬†Case Studies on our Knowledge Hub.


Denmark is also involved in our #DHCities?ÔłŹ initiative:

? –¬†Click here to read more about their story!




For more information on the impact of district energy at a local level,¬†explore our¬†#DHCities?ÔłŹ¬†map, featuring DHC decarbonisation success stories from¬†over 35¬†European cities:¬†euroheat.org/map


Useful links:
Danish District Heating Association (Dansk Fjernvarme)

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