Regional analyses of D2Grids project

D2Grids project has the ambition to sustain and roll-out the outputs and activities of the project to a wide variety of target groups, including policymakers, financial investors, professionals, SMEs, and other companies in the DHC industry.

Transnational roll-out beyond pilot sites will be facilitated by a regional vision development and preliminary feasibility assessment for rolling out 5GDHC technology.
It has been carried by project partners in each of the 7 follower regions defined for the project, namely: Parkstad Limburg (NL); North-East France; Luxembourg; Flanders (BE); Ruhr-area (DE); Scotland; East Midlands (UK).

It aims to define ambitions for low-carbon heating and cooling and to assess the feasibility and potential of 5GDHC’s roll-out.
The regional visions that are now available for public use consist of 5 categories: renewable sources; existing infrastructure and planned developments; thermal demand and supply profiles; legal and policy framework; financing options.

These assessments aim to find the potential of deploying 5GDHC in the follower regions after the project ends. This is done by mapping strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and barriers (SWOT) of 5GDHC for each of the regions. Some examples from these SWOT analyses can be found below:

One important common opportunity for 5GDHC roll-out comes from the current energy crisis in Europe, which has been a driving force for the acceleration of gas-free policies and programmes.
Due to high energy prices, and countries paying higher prices for gas in Europe, together with geopolitical risks associated with natural gas, district heating grids become more interesting for policy makers as well as for citizens.
Many regions are also looking to reduce their energy consumption, increase the share of renewable heat and electricity production and to go towards energetic sobriety. All those objectives fixed in the energy plans are compliant with 5GDHC principles.
It was also noted that densely populated areas present a good potential for 5GDHC development, as they are better qualified to comply with one of the 5 principles of 5GDHC: “Local sources as a priority”. It helps to decrease or even avoid energy losses during transport.

On the other hand, it is also important to note some of the threats for 5GDHC in these regions, for instance, the lack of balancing needs between heating and cooling, which is one of the main concepts defining 5GDHC.
In North-West Europe, the demand for cooling is currently relatively low compared to heating, however, the heat waves in recent years raised the awareness that cooling is or will be needed in summer, for housings and especially for tertiary buildings (offices, hospitals, schools, shops, etc.), presenting new opportunities for 5GDHC.
Another threat can be the already existing grids for high temperature district heating. However, an opportunity can also be found here through the concept of ‘cascading’. In areas where there is a lot of high temperature residual heat, it could be interesting to keep using that heat in 3-4 GDH grids that need to supply higher temperature demand.
The heat in the return pipes could then be used as an input for a 5GDHC grid, optimizing the use of energy.

In all the regions it is important to note the lack of policies and of examples other than the D2Grids pilots and very few others, which results in a knowledge gap for the technology from the side of industry, policymakers, citizens, and other stakeholders.
Hopefully, the regional visions now available will help filling this gap and provide at least these 7 regions with more information and tools for their transition to 5GDHC.

Analyses available on the Interreg website:

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