The future of energy distribution is modern district energy. Integrated systems pipe water and steam around a city to heat and cool buildings, producing electricity along the way. Modern district energy systems (DES) are exceptionally energy-efficient as they leverage energy that is typically lost and they use diverse energy sources for multiple buildings. Using an increasing share of renewable energy is part of this concept. DES could be the key to decarbonizing the built environment, transitioning to renewable energy and limiting global temperature change to below 2o Celsius.
To transition to modern district energy, we need to know where and how thermal resources are being used. The EU-funded STRATEGO project has published the Pan-European Thermal Atlas (PETA), an interactive map with data on regional and European thermal resources and demand. Further, it reveals available waste heat resources that district energy could tap into. Governments can use this information to implement National Cooling and Heating Plans (NCHPs), which are a European Commission obligation. The CELSIUS project, meanwhile, have resources until March 2017 to support cities in making local district energy systems a reality, and to assist cities in further developing their existing district energy systems.
Moving to the global arena, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon launched the Global Energy Efficiency Accelerator Platform to scale up energy efficiency policy, action and investment and to fast-track energy efficiency around the globe. The Platform provides technical assistance, support and public-private sector collaboration at the national, regional and local levels to bring the right policymakers together with the right stakeholders to effect real change. Partners in this process, ICLEI, UNEP and WRI invite local governments to become involved in the Buildings Energy Accelerator and the Global District Energy in Cities Initiative (DEA) – in a “Call to Action” by expressing their interest here. The results of this call to action will not only be launched at COP21 on Buildings Day, 3 December 2015, but we will follow up to explore how local governments can best be supported, through tailor-made guidance, peer exchange opportunities and access to finance.
Participate in the Call to action: showcase your City’s leadership at the COP 21 Buildings Day
Become a CELSIUS city.