Phasing out coal makes room for green district heating

In 2018, the Danish parliament decided to phase out coal in Combined Heat and Power stations (CHP) by 2030. However, this was not fast enough for Ørsted, the owner of the coal fired power station in Esbjerg and seven other power stations. They wanted to phase out the coal in the power production within 2022 – even though the power station in Esbjerg also produce 460 MW district heating to Esbjerg, Varde and the island of Fanoe. The coal fired power station supplies in yearly average half the district heating for the network. The other half of the district heating is supplied by the local waste to energy plant, Energnisten. In total, about 100,000 inhabitants are living in the distribution area.

In Denmark Combined Heat and Power station for district heating is mandatory by law in the large cities for 30 years. The mandatory co-production of electricity and district heating was introduced at a time when large amounts of heat from electricity generation was wasted. The cogeneration was a good idea 30 years ago because it ensured the efficient use of coal and natural gas, needed for both electricity and heat production. Today, Denmark has good alternatives electricity generation by renewable sources mainly offshore wind.

Because we are of the opinion that combined heat and power production should not be mandatory anymore but planned separately, we have influenced the national elected politicians and The Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities to rethink the mandatory demand of co-production. They listened - and therefore, DIN Forsyning has the first dispensation ever to disregard the demand og co-production.

Furthermore, the Ministry decided, that Ørsted should keep using the coal fired power station in Esbjerg to April 1st 2023, because DIN Forsyning needs time to build an alternative to share of district hearting from the power station.