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Climate-neutral district heating: Many paths to the coal phase-out

There is no "one-size-fits-all" solution for the conversion of the district heating supply in the municipalities. Whether heat from river water, large-scale solar thermal energy, industrial waste heat, waste incineration or heat sources in the ground: A new study for the Federal Environment Agency shows what options utilities have when saying goodbye to gas and coal and what the federal government must do to accelerate the conversion. 

Out of coal, into heating with renewable energies: The study "Decarbonisation of energy infrastructures" commissioned by the Federal Environment Agency makes it clear how strongly the planning for the heating network of the future depends on local boundary conditions.

Various options for six district heating systems representing the diversity of heating network structures in Germany were examined: Aachen, Karlsruhe, Chemnitz, Hamburg, Spremberg (Brandenburg) and Großkrotzenburg (Hesse). All these places have so far been heavily dependent on heat from coal-fired power plants, which they want to replace in the course of the coal phase-out. Together with them, the researchers have investigated ways to achieve a greenhouse gas-neutral district heating supply by 2045.

"In order to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045, renewable energies in district heating are a crucial step. However, there are hardly any patent solutions for heat supply with renewable energies," says Dr. Sara Ortner, head of the study at ifeu.

Read the full press release (in German)

The complete study can be found here (in German)

More information on the project here.

Further content:

[Translate to English:] Erneuerbare Wärme-Infrastrukturgesetz (EWG)