Big players are waking up in Denmark

For the first time, a major district heating company is planing to adopt the concept of central solar heating. The company VEKS, distributing heat in the western part of the Copenhagen area is aiming at a CSHP with a solar collector size of 20,000 m2, placed along a main highway. The plant will match the current record of the Marstal plant, also placed in Denmark. The plant will deliver approx. the heat of 5-6,000 single family houses.CEO, Lars Gulev, of the “Vestegnens Kraftvarmeselskab” district heating company estimates the plant to produce 10 GWh heat to the district heating system. The goal is to get the plant into production before the International Climate Conference in Copenhagen, 2009, where the expectations are to replace the Kyoto-protocol with a more ambitious protocol.

It is expected that the application of central solar heating is a factor 4 more cost efficient compare to single family housing solar installations.

Relevant is to mention, that the company is expecting lower production prices for the solar plant compared to the traditional co-generation plants due to the facts that solar prices are reduced as conventional heating prices are increased during the later years.

“In the first place, the solar heating plant is planed due to commercial reasons. Getting reduced CO2 pollution is a environmental side effect.” says Lars Gulev.

We hope others will take this considerations up and CSHP will play a more dominant role in the future of district heating. It would be interesting to see, if surplus heat from the power production will be cooled into the see due to this investment.

You find information on VEKS’s homepage on http://www.veks.dk (in Danish), where you change to English and will be presented for general information on the district heating system of Copenhagen. The solar plant is presented at the location http://www.veks.dk/Artikler/Seneste%20nyt/Solvarme.aspx

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3 Responses to Big players are waking up in Denmark

  1. Hinderikus (Henk) Busz says:

    Do you have any cost data on this facility, including any tax credits provided by the Danish government, as well as the expected price per kWh produced? Please advise, thanks, Henk Busz

  2. Hinderikus (Henk) Busz says:

    Upon reflection some more questions. I assume that most of the heat is generated when it is least needed (during the summer) except for domestic hot water uses, and that excess hot water is stored in thermal storage facilities. How does that affect the economics of CHP plant? And what is the seasonal production of heat by this solar collector? I’m not an engineer, just a finance man with a long standing interest in district heating, energy efficiency and renewables, especially solar.

  3. On bases of Henk’s questions, I did contact VEKS. They did estimate their economical reasoning on very simple and robust assumptions. They base the price for area on cheapest available ground prices (near the motorway), not used for agricultural purposes. The heat price is estimated by a set of simple assumptions: The need of 62 GJ has to be met. There is a buffer in form of wast that can be stored for times with high price for power. (This aspect was never considered in the many scenarios I heard of. Please include it in the future scenarios.) Efficiency for the collector field is computed by Arcon A/S, the producer of the collectors.
    To answer the question on tax credits and public funding: None is involved in the given computations. Estimations are based on strictly marked conditions.
    District heat prices are available from the District Heating Association on http://www.dff.dk/Forside/StatistikOgDriftsdata/Fjernvarmepriser.aspx (in Danish). By some simple computations the kWh price is stated to be 0.77 DKK equals 0.10 € + 25% VAT. (average heat bill for a building/average demand for the building – the figures applied in the source). VEKS is in no doubt that this price will be met. To mention the assumptions I did make in 2000 on the Marstal plant was that we have real production prices of 0,64 DKK, which probably matches the above values when correcting for inflation etc. These figures are documented in my (now older) report available on http://orbit.dtu.dk/app?service=external/RecordLinkPage&sp=Srecid&sp=184893. You find figures of 400-450 kWh/m2/year. Since then collectors are improved. See postings in this blog on the DTU work on Arcon-collectors.

    Hope these answers will be helpful and bring a next plant very soon.

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